Every so often opportunities emerge from different angles and one find’s oneself in the centre. This is happening on my own doorstep, and in my own industry right now. The opening of the Walney extension, the world’s largest Offshore wind farm off England’s north west coast may serve as a portent of what is to come.
On a lovely summer’s day, in the midst of a heatwave I was at Daresbury on 5 July for The future of green energy is now breakfast at their sleek and aptly named Innovation Centre. I learned that Liverpool City Region is aiming for a slice of a burgeoning global market. Having been at the forefront of offshore wind from the very start, Liverpool City Region hosts several of the key companies involved in the global energy transformation. It is well-placed geographically and it reaches out to the existing and potential future offshore supply chains.
The Liverpool City Region is particularly keen to engage with small and medium enterprises who wish to expand and those wishing to enter a market with renewable energy export sales expected to grow 60% over the next five years. With a market estimated at a mind-boggling £1.68 trillion to aim for the prize is clearly there.
Barely a week later it was London, and another blistering day at Glaziers hall amongst a host of former colleagues listening intently as Johnny Boston of the Crown Estate laid out a framework for further potential offshore wind development for England, Wales and Northern Ireland offshore-wind-cautious-encouragement-from-crown-estate. The key message revolved around an announcement of a target 6 GW new generation capacity (with 7.5 GW to be awarded) operational by 2030. The Crown State identified and graded 18 regions with stakeholder engagement to de-risk the projects already underway.
Cautious optimism from London yes, but delving deeper in analysing the follow up material it dawned on me that much of the opportunity -which is currently taking me around the globe – lies almost under my nose. Why should the North West, with an engineering, financial and manufacturing base not take fullest advantage? The area is designated as ‘favourable’ in the Crown Estate’s initial assessments – with fewer show- stoppers and a reduced consenting risk as a result.
Indeed, it can happen. Stakeholders gathered for “The Future of Offshore Wind: The potential opportunities for LCR businesses” event for which my ugly mug was used to reach out to those who could not make it: North-west-liverpool-city-region-offshore-renewables.
The supply chain, which can benefit from around 60% of a multi-billion project spend, is understandably interested and keen to feed into the process. Opportunities such as this, where national policy dovetails so closely with local aspirations are rare and need fighting for – other regions are already lobbying hard – so if you are in the North West and want to be part of an industry on the cusp of a quantum leap let us know. I can ensure your voice is heard.
Charley Rattan is a renewable energy consultant based in the North West. Feel free to contact him via email: Charley_Rattan@hotmail.co.uk or connect to him on LinkedIn.