16 June 2011 | Angeline Albert
must take the lead to help UK businesses harness opportunities in the offshore
wind supply chain.
In a report, Making green growth real, published by the Royal Academy ofEngineering,
the organisation’s president, Lord Browne of Madingley, said a thriving supply
chain will be a key method to reduce costs which will be vital to making the
development of offshore wind farms affordable.
there must be support from government for UK businesses that have already
secured opportunities within the wind power sector, greater engagement to help
them understand the industry, and it must look more closely at opportunities
for UK firms who are unaware of the sector, but could fill gaps in the supply
chain with their capabilities.
He added the
government’s strategy to encourage
first-tier suppliers to locate
at UK ports is “the right response” because their presence will encourage
development in the rest of the supply base. The study said once manufacturers
had made such a commitment, the focus is to switch to encouraging companies
further down the supply chain.
The report also
urged the government to provide financial support to upgrade UK ports –
allowing them to become supply chain hubs – and let them compete with
state-owned counterparts in Europe. “Investment today is critical,” said
It also found the requirement for staff to have specific qualifications
and accreditation creates additional costs for companies, particularly SMEs, in
the lower tiers of the supply chain. This pressure could be eased if the
government introduced a framework of qualifications for the whole energy
sector. It was also urged to build awareness of the sector among students to
develop skills among young people.