A guide to working in offshore wind from the first developer in Grimsby

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 27 Mar 2017

THE importance of rigorous procurement procedures in the burgeoning offshore wind sector was explained to an industry audience by the first investor in the Humber.

A key figure in Centrica’s operations in the renewables revolution, Jonathan Davidson addressed Grimsby Renewables Partnership. 

And he told how working with the developers was key to gaining a foothold in the market, and how they are receptive when it comes to helping navigate the criteria.

But while convenient trade and local content is attractive, safety is absolutely paramount.

Mr Davidson said: “The reputation of the operator is so important, and the safety culture is imperative. 

“There are 19 key parts in a nacelle, and every one could kill you. That’s why it is so important to work with people who respect safety a much as we do.  

The kind of environment we are working in, it is so important we are safe in what we do. If you can jump through the safety hoops you are there. The rest is rough information. Safety is the hardest part of the form, the rest are checks.”

Not belittling the other aspects, he said certain questions were there for assurance too. “Longevity of supply is important, these are long-term commitments out there, so financial probity of the supplier is also important.   

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.

“We are not in the business of trying to stop suppliers. If you have a pre-qualification form in front of you it is because we have a need and we want to trade. If you need help just pick up the phone. 

“It is a formal contract process, we don’t just decide we want to trade with Joe Bloggs Ltd because he is a great guy and makes great coffee. We need to know his is in harmony with our policies. If we need to trade with you, we will help you, and knowing Siemens and Dong Energy, if you have something they need they will help you.”

GOOD ADVICE: Jonathan Davidson, left, representing Centrica and Pete Rose, director of 3Q Industrial services, are welcomed to the latest Grimsby Renewables Partnership meeting by Kurt Christensen, right.

Pete Rose, director of 3Q Industrial Supplies, told how his business was founded in a bedroom in 2002, and now employs 25 people, from Grimsby’s Gilbey Road, providing stores management and engineering solutions.

“If a customer sends you a ‘pre-qual’ it is because they want to use you, it is not the obstacle,” he said. “Buying local is not a right, as a local supplier you have to comply.

Selling the product is no longer enough, any product or service you offer, there will be another choice in the town. We know we have to offer services to changing businesses in an ever-changing market, and we believe excellent service isn’t governed by the size of the business.

We have invested as a business to ensure our services meet the needs.

“Our business relationship is continually evolving and developing.” 

Kurt Christensen, the GRP director hosting the monthly event, underlined the importance of following the procurement steps. 

As managing director of Windpower Support, he has worked closely with Centrica.

Telling members how he went from supplying a £28 padlock to  £1.5 million of work a year with Centrica, he said: “If a bolt on a turbine is wrong, it can cause £10 million worth of damage and seriously hurt someone.”

He encouraged businesses to spend time with the developers whenever possible, highlighting an upcoming opportunity. 

“If we get Triton Knoll in the Humber, in Grimsby or on the South Bank of the river, it is a big feather in the cap for everybody. It is not a given it is going to be Grimsby, but there is a very good chance it is going to be Grimsby.

“When supply chain events are held get your names down quick, they are going to be spending a lot of money in the area.”

GRIMSBY Renewables Partnership has welcomed its 100th member of the year. 

Murphy Plant Ltd has joined the group, which helps unite companies with large developers in the offshore wind sector.
Murphy is a new entity from J Murphy & Sond Ltd, the company that was won major onshore cable route work with Dong Energy around North East Lincolnshire. It was announced at the latest monthly meeting.

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