While the UK leads the world with regard to installed offshore wind capacity, with further projects under construction and approaching the consenting stage, potential supply chain gaps threaten to delay plans. The UK wind sector, says the Crown Estate, is ideally placed to foster innovation and develop a thriving supply chain to reduce these gaps.

Drawing on the recommendations of the Offshore Wind Cost Reduction Taskforce in June, it has just issued a questionnaire intended to test industry opinion on how it should design and lease future offshore T&D facilities. Some T&D initiatives have already been formulated by the industry following the cost reduction pathways study. These have been collated and characterised in order to identify projects capable of producing tangible reductions in direct costs, improved performance or risk profile.

“Our industry engagement will enable us to develop ways of better facilitating the leasing of offshore wind demonstration sites” said Martin Simpson, Head of New Energy and Technology. This will “help us to address the predicted gap between supply and demand”. The industry needs to innovate continually, “driving improvements in technology, operational processes and contract structures to reduce costs and maintain the UK’s position”, he added.

The survey will help the Crown Estate to integrate emerging themes into a strategy for future demonstration site development which will then be presented to the Offshore Wind Programme Board at the end of the year. The deadline for industry responses is October 5, 2012.


Written by Robin Whitlock