New offshore wind cluster to keep East of England at forefront of global industry

Vattenfall

A new East of England offshore wind Cluster Forum will promote the region’s centre of excellence status and its rightful place at the core of the global industry.

The fast-growing supply chain in Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire has come together with developers and skills providers to build on the region’s leadership in this competitive sector.

The cluster’s purpose is to raise awareness of the East of England’s capability and innovation in order to win new investors, develop expertise, and export homegrown skills and services to the rapidly expanding international market.
Almost half the UK’s offshore wind capacity is off the coastline of the East of England. It is now serviced and maintained by a strong and expanding regional supply chain.

One of the Cluster’s first actions will be to attract businesses to participate in a work experience programme, starting early in 2022. It will showcase the diverse, varied, career and work experience opportunities to attract more people into the industry.

The cluster’s first report, supported and published by Vattenfall, defines the purpose of the cluster to place the region at the forefront of the skills development for the global offshore wind industry.  

More than 160 people joined the first cluster event in Lowestoft in September, organised by Vattenfall (who are developing Norfolk Vanguard and Norfolk Boreas offshore wind farms off Norfolk), and the East of England Energy Group (EEEGR).

Voting is under way now for the cluster’s first Chair and Vice Chair, who will be announced next month (12|November). The new appointees will be tasked with creating a long-term strategy and plan to attract further investment and opportunity.  

Danielle Lane, Vattenfall’s UK Country Manager and Co-Chair of the Offshore Wind Industry Council said: 
“Offshore wind is a globally competitive industry and we want the East of England to be recognised as a centre of excellence, attracting investment and demand for the skills and innovation which the region offers. For this to happen, we need a strong, unified voice which can bang the drum for East Anglia to attract investment, boost skills, and create jobs.” 

Martin Dronfield, Chairman of the East of England Energy Group and former Board Member of Renewable UK said: “The East of England has achieved incredible progress in the offshore wind industry and has enormous potential, but is often accused of hiding its light under a bushel, getting on with the job rather than shouting about its innovation, excellence, expertise and knowledge.

“It has built on its heritage from maritime and offshore oil and gas to be at the forefront of this exciting renewable sector since it began when Scroby Sands offshore wind farm was built off Great Yarmouth in 2007.

“The cluster will grasp this opportunity to put the region in its rightful place as a global leader, to entice investors and take skills honed here across the world to developing markets, like the US and Taiwan.”

Denise Hone, Training Director at Hexis Training, another member of the steering group for the first event, said:
“Offshore wind presents huge opportunity for us. We have been at the forefront and now it is time to collectively create one voice to maximise on the potential and draw in businesses and individuals that are not even aware that their technology has a part to play in keeping the industry’s pace of progress on track, like robotics and mechanical innovations.

“We are so proud of what we have achieved, what we are achieving and what we could achieve, and creating a cluster will build on that.”