UK Contractors Missing Out on Offshore Wind Work

European wind farm operators are attracting criticism for awarding their key contracts to firms outside the UK. The British media has accused the owners of projects such as Walney Offshore in Cumbria and London Array in Kent of using British contractors for just 10 to 20% of the major works.

MP for Barrow in Furness, John Woodcock, comments on Walney’s impact on the local economy: ‘The impact here has been fairly negligible. The Danish company has been using its own trusted suppliers on shipping contracts and other supply deals... We need a level playing field so that British companies can win a share of the action.’

In response, Walney’s Danish operator DONG Energy argued that UK manufacturers cannot supply the components they required for Walney, such as wind turbines, which made up 40% of the wind farm’s £1.2 billion construction bill.

Future looks brighter for new projects

Thankfully, it looks like the situation is set to improve in the near future. Swedish operater Vattenfall has pledged to use 50% UK labour for its Ormonde project off the Cumbrian coast. And the company has also secured more than 200 British jobs by awarding key contracts to firms in Swansea and Chepstow for wind farm projects in Leicestershire and Wales.

A Vattenfall spokesperson comments: ‘We are delighted the turbine towers for one of Vattenfall’s projects will be made in Wales for the first time. The establishment of a turbine tower manufacturing facility has been a major boost to the industry in Wales and the UK. The growth potential for companies working in the sector over the long term is significant.’

Wilding says: It’s great to see the UK finally starting to develop a renewable energy supply chain.No one likes to see the lion’s share of income from our wind farm projects going abroad, so we need the Government and energy companies to keep investing in the development of a sustainable manufacturing and skills base here in the UK..’

Source:The Guardianand The Daily Post