UK seeks offshore content boost

The UK government has commissioned a review of Britain's offshore wind supply chain after declaring that local content in the sector “can be and should be” much higher.

Energy minister Michael Fallon told the Global Offshore Wind 2014 event in Glasgow that Siemens’ recent announcement of manufacturing investment in Hull, northeast England, was a welcome start.

But Fallon added: “Overall UK content in our offshore wind farms can be, and should be, much higher – especially in capital expenditure.”

The minister said he has asked Siemens Energy UK managing director Matthew Chinn, a member of the Offshore Wind Industry Council, to look at the supply chain “to consider what more industry and government can do to support its development”.

The review should be ready in the autumn.

The UK government has repeatedly pressed the industry to achieve high levels of local content in projects, as it is sensitive to claims that foreign businesses are the prime beneficiaries of the UK's ambitious plans in the sector.

Last year it said all developers will have to submit a "supply-chain plan" before they can receive support under the UK's new Contract for Difference (CfD) system.

However, it has also confirmed there is no prospect of binding local-content rules, which would break trade rules.

The minister today praised offshore wind as a UK success story that already employs 6,000 directly, with a similar number in the supply chain.

Fallon claimed UK government policy measures had given investors the confidence they need while safeguarding consumers.

“While there were calls for still higher levels of support, we have to ensure consumers get value for money and I’m confident we have got it right and the future is looking bright for offshore wind.

“Indeed, what other sector can look forward to an almost threefold increase in offshore deployment by the end of the decade,” said the minister.