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North East supply chain clusters to benefit from new offshore wind developments 

Energi Coast, the North East of England’s offshore wind cluster, has welcomed the government’s announcement that six UK offshore wind projects have won Contracts for Difference (CfD), which will create new opportunities for the region’s established and diverse supply chain.

The offshore wind developments are included within a dozen renewable energy projects awarded CfDs, which, combined, will power more than seven million UK homes at record low prices. The announcement of the CfD’s confirm the go-ahead for these planned Round 3 offshore wind developments.

Among them are two projects located off the North East of England Coast, Sofia, to be developed by Innogy Renewables UK and Dogger Bank, which contains three offshore wind farms that will be developed by a partnership between Equinor and SSE.

The developments have all secured a strike price of £39.65, which a guaranteed price per Megawatt hour (MWh) to be paid to wholesale generators of electricity, which is 30 percent lower than the second auction in 2017.

North East England’s offshore wind cluster is well-placed to support these developments. The cluster’s supply chain has evolved through the development of innovative and game changing products and services, which have been applied to the majority of the world’s offshore wind farm developments.

As a result, the Energi Coast cluster has matured to deliver the majority of what is required for an offshore wind farm, both at design, construction, installation and operations & maintenance phase. This expertise ranges from foundations, cables, installation, ports and logistics, training and specialist subsea services.

The CfD scheme is the government’s primary method of supporting low-carbon electricity. It encourages investment in renewables by providing projects with a stable income while protecting consumers from paying increased support costs when electricity prices are high.

James Ritchie, Chair of Energi Coast and CEO at Tekmar Group plc, said: “This is a significant step forward to the UK offshore wind industry, which presents tangible opportunities for North East England’s cluster of supply chain companies that have the experience and expertise to support their delivery and operation.

“We do not underestimate the challenges this price reduction will create, but I am confident our cluster will be cost-competitive to support the delivery of these projects and we hope developers will recognise the benefit of using a proven, local supply chain.

“The innovation that companies from our cluster have brought to the industry will enable these developers to deliver sustainable offshore wind generation and ensure the sector can play its role in decarbonising the UK energy system.”

Ashleigh Smith
Article by Ashleigh Smith
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