The Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult has launched the first Fit 4 Offshore Renewables (F4OR) programme in Wales – specifically designed to support local companies bidding for work in the floating offshore wind industry.
ORE Catapult is partnering with Floventis Energy, the developer of Llŷr 1 and 2 in the Celtic Sea, to deliver ‘F4OR Wales’ that will give Welsh businesses the skills and expertise to deliver success in this rapidly growing sector.
Floventis Energy has committed up to £180,000 to ORE Catapult’s 12-18 month floating wind specific development programme along with unique access to the Llŷr development team, aimed at maximising the opportunities for Welsh companies in Llŷr and the forthcoming Celtic Sea Round 5 projects. F4OR Wales will mark the first time that the F4OR programme has been tailored exclusively for the floating wind market.
Wales’ Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething said:
“The Welsh Government is determined to ensure the economy and people of Wales benefit from the huge potential the offshore wind sector offers us. Improving the awareness of Welsh firms about what is required to do business in the offshore wind sector is vitally important. We want Welsh businesses to successfully bid for contracts, helping them create the new green jobs of the future. The F4OR programme provides insight into the sector’s requirements to allow them to do just that.”
F4OR Wales will be delivered in phases starting in 2024, with an initial cohort of three companies. The programme was designed alongside industry experts, and it has experienced widespread success across the UK since it started in 2019. To date, five F4OR regional programmes have been delivered in the North East of Scotland, North East of England, East Anglia and Suffolk, alongside national programmes run across Scotland and UK-wide. Over 100 companies have been supported, with participants experiencing an average 28% increase in turnover and many securing a wide range of new contracts.
Andrew Macdonald, Director of Development and Operations at ORE Catapult, said:
“Behind every successful industry is a strong, competitive supply chain of businesses providing the innovations, products, and services needed to make that sector a global success story. As low-carbon, clean, green energy generation matures, we need to ensure that we are well positioned to make the most of the huge opportunities on offer for a world-class supply chain developed in the UK and exporting to the world.
“Having successfully delivered F4OR across other parts of the UK, we now look forward to working with supply chain companies across Wales and making the most of the opportunities here – specifically in floating wind energy.
“We are also delighted to be working with Floventis on the programme as we support local companies and develop the offshore renewable energy supply chain in Wales.”
In Wales, the Celtic Sea is expected to play a key role in the UK’s journey to net zero, with a target of 4GW of floating wind to be deployed by 2035. It is estimated that the first GW of floating wind in the Celtic Sea could deliver over 3,000 jobs and £682m in supply chain opportunities for Wales and Cornwall by 2030, with 17,000 UK jobs generating £33.6 billion for the UK economy by 2050. However, a crucial first step is delivery of the UK’s current test and demonstration projects which will enable further supply chain opportunities.
In additional to financial support, Floventis Energy will provide technical and market insight for participant companies in the F4OR programme.
Cian Conroy, Head of Project Development UK & Ireland for Floventis Energy, added:
“Floating wind is fast becoming a proven technology with the potential to deliver sustainable sources of energy and enable us to make the transition to net zero. Projects such as Llŷr 1 &2 working in conjunction with initiatives such as F4OR are crucial to building the industry not only in Wales but also the UK. With the UK and Welsh Governments both committed to scaling up affordable, clean, homegrown power and building thriving green industries across the country, the Llŷr projects are an essential step in this process.
“F4OR has proven to be a valuable tool in the fixed offshore wind sector, which is why we were keen to support a tailored initiative for the emerging floating sector. Activities such as F4OR, and the deployment of test and demonstration sites such as Llŷr are a unique opportunity for the supply chain to ramp up and prepare for the forthcoming opportunities in commercial scale projects.
“The objective of the programme is to support the development of an increasingly competent, capable and competitive UK offshore renewable energy supply chain – maximising opportunity for the Welsh supply chain, both domestically and globally. We’re really looking forward to working with ORE Catapult and our potential supply chain partners to make this happen.”
Applications are encouraged from firms with more than ten employees and have a turnover greater than £1 million, with products or skills that are relevant to the offshore wind sector.
For more information and to apply by filling out an Expression of Interest form, go to F4OR – ORE (catapult.org.uk). Companies can apply from today until Friday 10th November to be considered for the programme.