Strong supply chain interest and demand has led to the flagship regional Fit 4 Offshore Renewables New Anglia (F4OR NA) programme securing funding to support a further five regional companies, in addition to the 10 announced at this year’s SNS 2020 conference.
Ten companies from the Norfolk and Suffolk region initially won out against fierce competition to secure a place in the first intake of the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult’s F4OR NA Programme. Following further investment and support provided by Norfolk County Council, New Anglia LEP and ORE Catapult, the initial cohort was extended to 15 and now includes Armultra Ltd, Weatherquest Ltd, N-ERGISE Ltd, Southampton Marine Services Ltd (SMS Group) and PPI Engineering Ltd on the Programme.
The huge interest in participating in F4OR NA has highlighted the appetite for future technology innovation and supply chain support programmes for the region. The East of England generates almost half of the existing offshore wind output in the UK, with a pipeline of future projects clearly defined, underling the important role the sector plays as an economic driver regionally, nationally and globally.
The F4OR NA Programme is now asking offshore wind owner/operators and developers with assets in the region to actively engage, supporting the 15-strong cohort through their own supply chain relationships to help all excel during the business improvement journey, offering a collaborative approach focused around the regional windfarms. This will provide a strong regional platform for the cohort, which can be replicated in other areas of the country, to develop and promote value-adding innovative products and services to a global industry. The current industry advisory group (IAG) for F4OR includes Equinor, GE, Innogy, JDR, Lloyds Register, MHI Vestas, Orsted, RedRock, ScottishPower Renewables, Siemens Gamesa, Tekmar and Vattenfall.
Martin Dronfield, Board member of RUK, EEEGR and the East of England Offshore Wind Cluster Champion said:
“I’m delighted the programme has been extended to 15 companies, which I believe is a reflection of the real strength we have in our regional supply chain and we are confident that having supported the Pilot Project in Scotland, the IAG will recognise considerable benefit from sharing real industry challenges requiring practical solutions that add value and lead to reduced cost for the industry. I look forward to seeing our regional “Cohort Model” develop.”
Andy Holyland, ORE Catapult’s East of England Regional Innovation Manager, said:
“Support for the Programme will provide the offshore wind developers with an independent and collective vehicle to engage with the supply chain, to encourage new entrants and innovations and develop experience – strengthening capability, adding value to the UK Supply Chain, and securing UK content and economic benefit. We’re asking those developers that are active in the region to come onboard to support our F4OR NA cohort and help them excel during their business improvement journey by offering a collaborative approach focused around the regional windfarms. This will provide a platform for the cohort to develop and promote innovative products and services.”
TECOSIM is one of the companies joining the 2020 F4OR New Anglia cohort. Their Managing Director Stuart Hawker added:
“TECOSIM is committed to the development of low carbon technologies and is already working on electric and autonomous vehicles. The renewable energy sector is a big part of our future strategy and being involved in F4OR New Anglia means we are ideally situated to support the sector.”
The F4OR programme is one of a suite of technology innovation and supply chain growth programmes run by ORE Catapult, including the Offshore Wind Growth Partnership (OWGP), Wind Expert Support Toolkit (WEST) and Launch Academy, as well as a large number of publicly available insights, analysis, reports and case studies via the ORE Catapult website that are available to support overall business improvement.