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New Anglia businesses to benefit from UK’s offshore renewable energy boom

Andy Holyland, regional innovation manager at Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, tells us abut the new Fit 4 Offshore Renewables (F4OR) business improvement programme.
As the global economy seeks to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, many sectors are turning to offshore renewable energy to provide the catalyst for robust economic recovery. The offshore renewables industry, in particular the offshore wind sector, creates a platform to foster and facilitate cross-sector partnerships and innovation, taking advantage of critical expertise and experience in some of the UK’s leading industries to meet the green energy demand and provide the stimulant for recovery.
To facilitate this green economic recovery, Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, in collaboration with HVM Catapult’s Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (Nuclear AMRC), has established the Fit 4 Offshore Renewables (F4OR) business improvement programme. It is a journey of business excellence and sector specific capability building to support the development of a competent, capable and competitive UK offshore renewable energy supply chain, maximising the economic opportunity, both domestically and globally.
Based on the proven Fit For Nuclear programme, F4OR aims to increase competitiveness of offshore renewables to support the continued cost reduction in the industry whilst simultaneously securing long-term economic benefits. F4OR will enhance opportunities for UK supply chain companies to compete for, and secure, contracts at UK offshore wind farms, in order to build and maintain an indigenous UK-based supply chain, making them attractive to offshore renewables’ project developers.
Following the success of the Scottish pilot programme, the first regional programme will begin in the New Anglia LEP region in July 2020. The jointly funded F4OR programme, with ORE Catapult and the New Anglia LEP, offers 10 places for innovators in the region and looks to support the booming local energy supply chain to fuel the growth in offshore renewables and stimulate supply chain mobility and transition during the green economic recovery.
The Norfolk and Suffolk region is home to some of the largest offshore wind projects in the UK, bringing together industry giants such as ScottishPower Renewables and its East Anglia ONE offshore wind farm and Vattenfall’s recently-approved Vanguard and proposed Boreas offshore wind farms. This, combined with crucial infrastructure and local authority and business group support, makes the New Anglia LEP an unparalleled location to launch the first regional F4OR programme.
Developed with input from the offshore renewable industry, the F4OR New Anglia programme is aimed at businesses who are intent on transitioning to the offshore renewable energy sector and access the huge market potential both domestically and globally. The programme will focus on improving two key areas to prepare the company to bid for work in the sector.
These areas are:
  • Business Excellence - to assess areas of the business, including strategy and leadership, health, safety and environmental management, quality management, design and project delivery, and process and operations.
  • Sector Specific Competence - assessing sector knowledge, capacity and capability, cost reduction and competitiveness, and technical and commercial risk management.
ORE Catapult, in collaboration with HVM Catapult’s Nuclear AMRC, will facilitate the F4OR programme in the Norfolk and Suffolk region due to its sector knowledge and strong partnerships with industry and academia. ORE Catapult will support the development of a strong UK offshore renewables supply chain in the region, ultimately increasing UK content and strengthening the UK supply chain and export market, creating jobs and UK economic benefit.
Aberdeen, Dundee and Blyth-based Texo Integrity+ took part in the F4OR Scottish pilot programme to diversify and develop their product offering in offshore renewable energy. Phillip MacDonald, managing director of Texo Integrity+, said: “When we first got involved with the programme, we wanted to ensure we were up to the standards set by the F4OR programme. We wanted to see where this would take us in the ways of opportunities in the future. The support and feedback we received throughout the programme has given us great opportunities for improvement, which is all we can ask for as a business looking to diversify further.”
The F4OR New Anglia programme will look to see similar success stories from the local supply chain to ultimately grow and strengthen the UK’s offshore renewable sector.
Expressions of Interest to participate in the Fit 4 Offshore Renewables New Anglia programme are now open. Visit ORE Catapult’s Fit 4 Offshore Renewables webpage for more information.