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Wind Energy Update

30 May 2012 02:05:45

RES Offshore talk challenges, selection criteria and operation strategy

This week Wind Energy Update interviewed Chris Holden, the offshore operations manager for RES Offshore. He explains his selection criteria, advice for new market entrants, his biggest challenge and operation strategy.

Suppliers do not know exactly what is required of them in order to win contracts with the turbine manufacturer and operations companies. It is a feeling amongst suppliers that they must have a long service history in order to win business. This is making new suppliers to the industry worried that they will never get those big contracts.

However after speaking to Chris Holden he explains that when he chooses a supplier, a long service history is not important. Due to the age of the industry, Chris explains that it is unlikely that any company will have more than 5 years' offshore wind experience.

The offshore operations manager for RES Offshore says that what is most important when choosing who to supply the components are that they meet the following requirements:

1. Health and safety standards
2. Financial security
3. Technical capabilities

The first requirement is the most important. Suppliers are starting to understand that they must follow and adhere to the health and safety policies.

But what advice can be given to a company that aims to establish itself in the supply chain? Chris says that a supplier must do two things. One – ensure that the company is accredited (meets health and safety standards) Two – allow for contingencies. At least 40% must be prepared for including weather and supply chain issues. Chris advises you to 'ensure that all scenarios are included in your business plan or you will end up being out of pocket on a job'.

The weather must also be taken into consideration, especially offshore. Chris says that the weather is the biggest challenge that he faces as an operations manager. This is particularly frustrating as nothing can be done. Suppliers will be contracted but cannot work because weather prohibits. 26% of the year RES Offshore is unable to perform maintenance on the wind farms because of the weather.

Chris Holden will provide even more of his valuable advice for those in the industry on behalf of RES Offshore at the 4th annual Wind Turbine Supply Chain Conference.

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