United Kingdom

United Kingdom

UK's Offshore Wind Investment Organisation fails to appoint head

UK: The UK government-backed organisation tasked with increasing the level of investment to the country's offshore wind industry has failed to appoint a leader since being set up more than six months ago.

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The Offshore Wind Investment Organisation (OWIO) was announced with much fanfare by business and energy minister, Michael Fallon, at RenewableUK’s June conference and re-enforced with the launch of the Offshore Wind Industrial Strategy in August. 

However, while some appointments have been made, including James Beal taking on the interim role of chief operating officer, no chief executive has yet been found.

Karl John has been appointed as an industrial sector specialist and recently Rob Sauven joined as an expert advisor to help with OWIO strategy development.

OWIO's role is to ensure offshore wind delivers a "step change" in economic benefit in the UK. It aims to significantly increase the levels of inward investment to the UK in offshore wind and the associated energy supply chain.

It is being delivered by UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) and managed jointly across government by Business Innovation and Skill (BIS), Department for Energy and Climate Change and UKTI.

Since setting up more than six months ago the OWIO has met more than a 100 companies connected with offshore wind to ensure that it has full a picture of the challenges, opportunities and support needed in the offshore wind sector.

A spokesperson said that since OWIO has been established there have significant announcements from their clients, which includes Vattenfall making a final investment decision for the £150m Kentish Flats extension, Dong purchasing Race Bank from Centrica and Strabag announcing an MOU with Able to deliver gravity based foundations for offshore wind on the Humber.

A UKTI spokesperson said: "it needs to be understood that certain internal processes had to be moved forward and effectively OWIO has been operational only since September, so it is closer to three months old.

"In general at least an 18 month timescale for an inward investment decision is not unusual so we would not expect to see any external impact only three months after becoming operational."

OWIO's ultimate goal is to promote a competitive, capable and innovative UK supply chain through foreign direct investment, capturing local economic benefit from the offshore wind market, enabling a reduction in the cost of energy and the creation of jobs.

The OWIO will link into UKTI’s existing activities to showcase UK companies’ manufacturing and engineering capabilities overseas.

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