UK supply-chain plans may be private

The supply-chain plans that developers of UK offshore wind farms will be forced to submit before applying for planning approval may not be available for public scrutiny, the government says.

Last autumn the UK government confirmed that offshore wind projects larger than 300MW – which means nearly all future projects – must have an “approved” supply-chain plan in hand before they can apply for a Contract for Difference (CfD) under the UK’s incoming Electricity Market Reform package.

When applying for a CfD in future, developers will need to include a letter from government “certifying that they have an approved supply-chain plan”, with officials citing the need for “encouraging open and competitive supply chains” as its motivation.

But ultimately, those plans may not be made freely available for view, officials at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said today.

The government is “still considering” whether to publish the supply-chain plans submitted by developers publicly, according to one DECC official who spoke to reporters on the condition of anonymity. “We’ll be setting out final details soon.”

Senior government figures have said they expect that at least 70% of the content going into future UK offshore wind farms be supplied locally – more than double the current figures at many projects.

The government has confirmed, however, that it will not impose binding local-content requirements, as doing so would flout international law.

Adam Bruce, head of global corporate affairs at Mainstream Renewable Power, says developers understand why government would ask for such plans.

Developers “are grown up, we’re sophisticated, we understand that the UK government stands in place of the British consumer who will be supporting the CfD”, Bruce says. “It’s only right and proper that British government … should ask for something in return.”

“I think we can have a grown-up conversation about what that looks like,” Bruce tells Recharge.