More offshore wind contracts to be revealed soon in best value wind farm

Developers of what will be the best value offshore wind farm in the world will hold an East of England supply chain event in the New Year to announce new contracts.

ScottishPower Renewables’ Charlie Jordan, project director for East Anglia ONE, said many more contracts were still to be awarded on the £2.5billion project and the company would hold an event to meet the supply chain soon.

He was speaking to more than 200 delegates at the Offshore Wind Week East Anglia Event at OrbisEnergy, Lowestoft, organised by the East of England Energy Group (EEEGR).

Delegates heard that the East Anglia ONE contracts part of a rapidly-growing multi-billion pound industry, which has brought more than £9 billion of investment to the UK in the first six months of this year.

EEEGR chief executive Simon Gray said: “It is amazing the diversity here today. We have seen oil & gas companies that have diversified into successful players in offshore wind.

“We believe that we can all work collaboratively with the busy industry to bring benefits to our region for decades to come.”

More than 450 hopeful suppliers had already registered on ScottishPower Renewables’ data base for the 102-turbine, 714MW farm, which will create enough electricity for half a million homes. An estimated 3000 jobs will be created throughout the project, with 100 jobs provided to keep it running for the next 30 years, Mr Jordan said.

“We still have cabling contracts; two thirds of our jackets are still to be awarded, electrical equipment and onshore work. There is a plethora of projects still to be awarded – HDDs (horizontal directional drillings), civils, substation construction – all of which we have the capacity for in the UK and certainly in this area,” he told the event at OrbisEnergy, Lowestoft.

“We have the highest proportion of investment in the UK on this project with more than 50 per cent. We are supporting inward investment in the supply chain.”

Richard Sandford, of Innogy SE, developers of the Galloper Offshore Wind Farm, to build its operations and maintenance base at Harwich, Essex, said £9 billion – three quarters of the £12bn investment in offshore wind in Europe in the first six months of this year – had come to the UK.

Nick Gardiner, managing director, head of offshore wind, for the Green Investment Bank (GIB), financers of the Galloper Offshore Wind Farm and and seven other projects with £119m committed capital, is one of the largest players in the offshore wind sector with involvement with more than 800 offshore wind turbines.

In its first four years, GIB had backed 83 green infrastructure projects with £2.7bn capital committed.

The government’s promised Contract for Difference auction, announced yesterday (November 9th), represents a finance opportunity of £18bn, he said.

“Projects are getting larger and markets are expanding internationally. Where is the money coming from? Finance houses are coming in to look at the investment side. There are about 20 banks that can and will invest in the UK offshore wind.

GIB was investing earlier and earlier in what had become a “marine industry first, a wind industry second.”

Paul Thomson, managing director of Lowestoft-based Sembmarine SLP, which had designed and made Statoil’s Dudgeon Offshore Wind Farm offshore substation for Siemens, said they had been “desperately disappointed” not to have been able to work on East Anglia ONE.

Its oil & gas contract for the Culzean project meant it had “a major schedule clash and, to quell rumours, we could not compete. We want to support the industry in the future.”

“Our challenge is to see where our competition is and bring projects back to the UK. We have got the engineers involved and that is where to focus.”

Other speakers were from ABP Ports, Vattenfall, Statoil and supply chain companies CWind and JDR Cables.