I’ve recently been honoured to attend a UKTI event for the offshore wind industry in Beijing, as part of a second tour of China on behalf of UK Government. I was presenting analysis on how the experience in the UK can help China reduce the cost of energy faster and hence accelerate its offshore wind market.
As well as gaining some fascinating insight and making some very useful connections, I did learn that the number seven in Chinese is a homophone of the word for “arise” ( 起). So, I’ve come up with seven things that the Chinese offshore wind industry can learn from UK experience to rise up and become a success:
i. Make the most of the UK experience of cost reduction and innovation. The UK offshore industry is already on a very steep cost reduction path, driven by technology development, industrialisation and knowledge transfer.
ii. Focus on excellent planning in the development stage. This helps ensure that energy capture is maximised, CAPEX is minimised and risks reduced. By getting the design and development right, significant benefits can be realised during the life of the project.
iii. Manage supply chain risk – don’t repeat the early mistakes of Europe in pushing risk down the supply chain without properly managing it.
iv. Build on the UK experience of efficient turbine, foundation and cable installation, including using specialised vessels, improved planning and innovative transport and installation techniques.
v. Offshore asset management is vital to keep operational costs low. This includes increased focus on reliability during turbine development and testing as well as making sure that planned maintenance, unplanned service in response to faults and offshore logistics are as efficient as possible to minimise downtime.
vi. Encourage knowledge transfer and synergies across projects and operators. Projects in the UK such as the ORE Catapult’s SPARTA (sharing operational information) and lessons learned initiatives from the Offshore Wind Programme Board are helping knowledge transfer and collaboration without damaging competition.
vii. Encourage innovation through developing schemes similar to the UK’s Offshore Wind Accelerator (2008-2016).
I’m looking forward to the development of the Chinese offshore wind industry but not as a spectator. We’ve been helping to grow the European offshore industry for almost 10 years and we’re hoping to help both Chinese and UK companies make the most of the challenging, exciting and considerable opportunities they have in offshore wind.