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BVG Associates haspublished an analysis of the supply chain for the offshore wind sector, which identified areas requiring focus if the industry were to deliver the capacity needed for UK to meet its 2020 renewable energy targets.

The study, commissioned by The Crown Estate, found that amid the increased confidence in the supply chain over the past two years, there had been significant new investment in the development of a next generation of offshore wind turbine designs, construction of specialist wind farm installation vessels and investment by cable installation contractors. These were all identified by a BVG Associates study in 2009 as areas that would form major bottlenecks for offshore wind projects without timely investment.

The new report found that subsea export cable supply, with limited new investment since 2009, was now the most critical area of supply in terms of potential to cause delays to projects. Although there had been some investment and entry of new players, further investment would be required this year in order to keep pace with the rapid growth of the industry as the lead times were significant in establishing new manufacturing capacity. The report stressed that growth in offshore wind deployment over the next decade would require investment across the whole supply chain. Critical to growth of the sector was a confident supply chain, sufficient competition to drive innovation and cost improvement and enough collaboration for lessons learnt to be shared as ever larger projects were delivered in more challenging conditions.

The study was based on interviews with Round 3 development consortia and members of the supply chain. It tracked political, economic, infrastructure and consenting issues affecting the industry as a whole and the supply of hardware and services across the sector in the context of an anticipated market of 50GW of installed offshore wind capacity in Europe by 2020.
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