Celebrating Offshore Wind Week

Skilling up people in the eastern region to meet the growing demand from the offshore wind sector will be high on the agenda at Offshore Wind Week – East Anglia.

Delegates will also hear about the Offshore Wind Sector Deal for the cluster across the region which would help to improve the productivity of the UK supply chain, increasing UK competitiveness in an increasingly global sector.

Offshore Wind Week – East Anglia runs from 22 to 23 November at OrbisEnergy, the east coast’s renewables hub, and is organised by the East of England Energy Group (EEEGR).

It presents supply chain companies with an excellent opportunity to network with industry leaders and to receive the latest updates on all offshore wind projects in the region.

The two-day event in Lowestoft will also feature presentations and case studies from apprentices, students and skills providers.

Wind farms could deliver 6,150 new jobs on the east coast and the number of turbines could grow to 1,018 by 2032. But the industry needs to meet the challenge of a major skills shortage if it is to capitalise.

The UK offshore wind industry could experience a shortage of skilled workers over the next 15 years as job demand in the sector jumps to 36,000 from 10,000 currently, according to a report produced by Energy & Utility Skills for Aura Wind Energy and Green Port Hull.

Industry needs to work with the educational system now to ensure the right skills and talents come through to fill the demand needed to install 35GW of offshore wind capacity by 2032, said the report.

Simon Gray, chief executive of EEEGR, said skills would be high on this year’s agenda:

“Our Skills for Energy (SfE) programme is all about delivering skilled people to the industry for long-term careers and ensuring the existing workforce continues to meet the industry’s needs, now and into the future.

“We need to work closely with educational institutions as well as promoting the energy industry to people currently working in other sectors.

“In the east, we are in the best possible location in terms of the move towards electrification and being a centre of excellence.”

Peter Aldous, MP for Waveney, will open the event which is being organised in partnership with RenewableUK.

Speakers will include Martin Dronfield, chair of EEEGR’s Offshore Wind Special Interest Group and a director at James Fisher Marine Services.

“Offshore wind presents a massive opportunity for the supply chain in the region, particularly following the confirmation that the UK energy department BEIS will publish the key terms of the next Contracts for Difference auction for renewables within weeks, and follow on with regular auctions over the next decade,” said Mr Dronfield.

“With ScottishPower Renewables’ East Anglia One project, under construction, others including Vattenfall’s Vanguard and Boreas wind farms bringing forward massive projects, and the ongoing operations, maintenance and upgrading of existing farms means, this region is at the centre of the renewables revolution. It is particularly important that we play to our strengths and regional advantages in support of an Offshore Wind Sector Deal Bid.

“Our innovative ideas, applied through a supportive business environment, will ensure that this huge investment in infrastructure supports and encourages the skilled people required to drive this industry forward. We are in the right place at the right time to advance decarbonisation through electrification.”

As part of the event, EEEGR will host a drinks reception on November 22 sponsored by Survitec from 6pm-8pm. Registration will open from 5.30pm.

To view the full programme, visit www.eeegr.com/events/offshore-wind-week-east-anglia/