The former Defence Secretary and former Energy Minister, Sir Michael Fallon MP, is to prepare a report assessing the impact of the Government’s policy towards UK local content in the provision of the technology required to deliver energy from the UK’s offshore wind energy licences.
Sir Michael’s report, provisionally titled ‘Winning Locally’, has been commissioned by Wilton Engineering and will consider the detail of contracts undertaken by the firm and its partners in evaluating the effectiveness of the Government’s UK content policy. He will also be consulting with companies from across the North East region and the offshore industry to compile the report.
In 2017, Wilton Engineering won contracts from Steelwind which has large fabrication facilities and are based in Germany. Its client, Ørsted the Danish company, has been awarded offshore wind licences from the Crown Estate and the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, most notably for Hornsea Project One, off the East Coast of the UK.
The strength and the resilience of the supply chain that emerged from the resultant Wilton Engineering sub-contracts will be considered in detail as Sir Michael undertakes the research phase of his report to investigate the opportunities for companies at every level.
Sir Michael will also incorporate the positive experiences resulting from the agreements between Wilton’s clients and other Tees Valley businesses such as Offshore Structures Britain, JDR Cables, Tekmar and DeepOcean and the subsequent effect on the economy of Tees Valley and the North East as a result of the region’s role in wind farm developments.
He will also consider the impact of the awarding of offshore wind farm licences on the wider North East economy and is inviting interested parties to make contact via Wilton Engineering should they have relevant points for submission.
A study published in 2017 by Renewable UK, suggested that 48% of the expenditure in planning, building and running our offshore projects goes to UK companies. Sir Michael’s report will consider the local impact of this expenditure and look at the best practice that could enable the sector as a whole to achieve its 2020 target to source 50% of its work in Britain.
Bill Scott, chief executive of Wilton Engineering, said: “As a former North East MP and former Energy Minister, Sir Michael is in a unique position to assess the way North East manufacturing businesses are interacting with the wider supply chain. His report will help us all to ensure we deliver the wider economic benefits from the growth of offshore wind in terms of jobs and investment.
“Although our firm has commissioned this report, we want it to support the North East supply chain as a whole. Those who want to make their views known about the impact of UK content targets should get in touch with Wilton Engineering and we will pass their details to Sir Michael.”
Sir Michael Fallon, said: “The offshore wind industry is growing quickly, with £11.5bn of investment in new UK offshore wind farms in the pipeline it is vital that local content is fully incorporated into the supply chain. My report aims to consider best practice and assess any obstacles that need to be overcome.”
Pictured: left to right: Wilton Engineering Chief Executive, Bill Scott, Sir Michael Fallon and Wilton Managing Director, Steve Pearson