Siemens grows green vendors

24 May 2010

25 May 2010 | Lindsay Clark

Buyers at Siemens are working to develop the UK supply chain for 
the burgeoning green offshore energy industry.

Next month, Siemens Transmission and Distribution and Siemens Wind Power will host an event bringing potential suppliers from all tiers together to develop their understanding of the special requirements of offshore wind farms.

This is in line with its plans to continue construction of wind farms off the UK coast. The move comes as the new UK coalition government made a commitment to green energy investment and marine energy production which follows similar support announced by the former 
Labour government.

Bill Johnson, Siemens Transmission and Distribution procurement manager, told SM: “The purpose of this event is to take a proactive approach to increase awareness [among suppliers] rather than on a project-by-project basis, giving advanced notification of our requirements.” Although many UK engineering firms were capable of providing the technology, they did not always understand the specific requirements of the offshore green energy industry, he said.

For example, firms that provide electricity transmission and distribution equipment on land had to adapt to the health and safety requirements of working at sea and alter technologies for a saltwater environment, while companies used to supplying the offshore gas and oil industries needed to make adjustments for the alternative 
energy industry.

“We do not have the supply base there to meet our requirements – we have to develop it,” Johnson said. 

In March, the former Labour government announced £60 million for land development in this area, following which Siemens unveiled an £80 million investment in a UK offshore wind turbine factory.

Johnson said the event, planned for 17 June in Rotherham, was primarily to support projects already under way, although Siemens would talk to all firms interested in supplying the new facility. He could not reveal the full extent of Siemens’ supply chain investment in the coming years, but said a recent £60 million deal with McNulty Offshore for the construction of a substation platform for the world’s largest offshore wind farm, Greater Gabbard off the Suffolk coast, demonstrated its commitment.

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