Energi Coast, North East England’s Offshore Wind Cluster, is undertaking an ambitious new project, which aims to produce a comprehensive report of the region’s supply chain capabilities in order to increase opportunities for local companies in the offshore wind industry.

The supply chain mapping project will identify the range of capabilities available throughout North East England to support offshore wind developers and contractors identifying locations with extensive supply chain expertise to base onshore operations, or to tap into the collaborative capabilities of North East England companies.

In addition, the project aims to identify innovations being developed and where transference of skills from other sectors can be utilised for the future of the offshore wind industry, as well as pinpointing any gaps that might exist in the region’s capabilities.

The project will be managed by energy sector business development organisation NOF working with a dedicated task group, which includes Energi Coast Chairman James Ritchie, and representatives from developers Equinor, RWE and SSE Renewables, alongside GE Renewable Energy and ORE Catapult, the UK’s leading technology innovation and research centre for offshore renewable energy.

Established in 2011, Energi Coast is made up of more than 30 key regional businesses and stakeholder organisations involved in offshore wind, working to showcase the vast supply chain capabilities within North East England.

The region has been active in the offshore wind sector since the inception of the industry, with the first UK offshore wind farm being built off the coast of Blyth in 2000.  Since then, North East England has become a key region for the offshore wind industry both in terms of developments such as the Dogger Bank Wind Farm and the RWE Sofia Offshore Wind Farm, and its diverse and expansive supply chain cluster.

Joanne Leng MBE, Deputy Chief Executive of NOF and Deputy Chair of Energi Coast, said: “This will be the most comprehensive mapping of North East England’s offshore wind supply chain.

“The combined capabilities of the region’s companies creates a powerful cluster, which has a broad range of specialist expertise to support the offshore wind industry both here in the UK, and also globally as we look at further export potential going forward.

“This project will provide a focal point that showcases the depth of innovation and experience of the region, and help build the cluster further with new entrants to the market.”

Halfdan Brustad, Vice President for Dogger Bank Wind Farm project, said: “We welcome this initiative, it presents a good opportunity to demonstrate what the region can deliver to the offshore wind industry.

“This project will assist us in navigating the regions broad range of capabilities, which is deeply needed for us as new entrants. The Dogger Bank projects will be located at Port of Tyne, and this mapping will give us a valuable insight into the capabilities and innovation potential for our industry.”

Sofia Offshore Wind Farm Project Director David Few said: “As a project we have ambitions for more than 50% UK content, and so we encourage all North East suppliers, those working in offshore wind and those with an interest in working in the sector, to engage with Energi Coast’s supply chain mapping work to help ensure it will give as broad a picture of the region as possible and understand what goods and services can be sourced from the area.”

North East England supply chain companies are encouraged to get in touch with Caroline Lofthouse, Head of Stakeholder Engagement at NOF, by email to CLofthouse@nof.co.uk.