Millions of pounds of contracts and hundreds of jobs are expected to go to businesses across the eastern region if offshore windfarms planned by Swedish energy firm Vattenfall go ahead.
Supply chain opportunities will reap potential rewards for a diverse range of companies, including civil engineering, fabrication, building construction, environmental, electrical engineering, logistics, offshore services and offshore subsea engineering.
Today (Thursday 2 May) Vattenfall is launching its national supply chain campaign as part of its commitment to the industry-UK government, which targets 30GW by 2030.
The launch is taking place in Norwich as around 300 companies gather to hear about the opportunities ahead from the proposed Norfolk Vanguard and Norfolk Boreas projects and the Thanet Extension off Kent, as well as Vattenfall’s other offshore projects. This pipeline of projects will have a combined capacity of nearly 4GW.
And the clear message to East Anglian businesses is: “Be ready”.
Rob Lilly, supply chain manager for Vattenfall, said: “We are working with local skills providers and economic development agencies to ensure the local workforce – and local businesses – are ready when we need them.”
Vattenfall wants most of the 420 jobs expected to be created by onshore construction, the hundreds offshore during construction and the 150 skilled technicians needed to look after the windfarms for 20-years to come from the region. Currently, Vattenfall has reserved space at Peel Ports Great Yarmouth to support offshore operations.
The focus will be on engaging small to medium-sized companies, manufacturers and main contractors, as well as those who could benefit from opportunities in the local area, such as plant and equipment hire, small tools suppliers, consumables, personal protective equipment, accommodation, catering and parking.
Mr Lilly said the recent signing of the Offshore Wind Sector Deal was a real step up in the government’s commitment to offshore wind and the industry now had to deliver.
“The Deal means we can plan longer term, engage earlier and in more depth with the supply chain so everyone is clear on the opportunity and priorities,” he said.
“With the growth rate of offshore wind in the UK, we want to ensure local companies can take advantage of the diversification and growth opportunities it will offer – not just in the short term, but for future generations.”
Great Yarmouth-based Subsea Protection Systems (SPS), which supplied 250 concrete mattresses to Vattenfall’s Kentish Flats Offshore Wind Farm project, will be at today’s event to discover how its subsea protection, stabilisation and scour products can be used on the Norfolk ‘siblings’ and other projects.
Commercial manager Justin Hambling said: “Vattenfall is a fantastic company to work with as it understands the importance of working with local companies, boosting the local economy.
“Of course cost is a major factor when procuring for a project, but, with Vattenfall, more importantly, providing a service that is reliable, safe and adaptable, which ensures the expectations are fulfilled, is key.”
Vattenfall, Norfolk County Council and Norfolk Chambers of Commerce have recently secured £22,000 from New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership. This will enable it to build supply chain capacity by alerting SMEs to opportunities and getting them ready to potentially bid. The aim of the funding will be to support the creation of 15 full-time, high-value jobs, 47 learners and 40 apprenticeships.
Norfolk Vanguard and Norfolk Boreas will produce enough fossil free power to meet the needs of more than 10% of UK households every year. And it will help establish the eastern region as an international centre of excellence in offshore wind.
Vattenfall has engaged with thousands of local people, public bodies and specialist agencies to minimise the impact of Norfolk Vanguard offshore windfarm and onshore infrastructure and to design a project that is best in class and that will make a telling contribution to the UK’s drive to dramatically reduce emissions from burning fossil fuels.