Friday, 14 August 2009

Offshore Wind Round 3: On your marks… Get set…

The allocation of the Crown Estate’s Round 3 zones is nearly upon us.

After what seems like a life-time of anticipation, the commercial negotiations are now going on between the Crown Estate and the wind energy consortiums, to finalise the allocation of offshore zones in Round 3 of the UK’s offshore development. I have spoken to a number of contacts in the industry this week, who confirmed that things are very close to kicking off. Now is the time to fasten your seatbelts, we are about to get very busy!

Massive demand for Development Skills.

Everyone to whom I speak acknowledges the fact that, should they be successful in securing a link in the supply chain towards delivering a new round of offshore wind, they will need to build their teams accordingly to make sure that they can deliver upon their commitments. From EIA specialists, to planning and consents analysts, and technical due diligence engineers, there is all of a sudden going to be a massive demand for talented individuals who can help to turn an allocated area of the sea into a massive power generating asset.

I was speaking to a specialist in Environmental Impact Assessments for Offshore Wind farms yesterday. He has been involved since Round 1 of offshore developments, and is known as one of the few real experts and heavy hitters in that arena. He is already very busy, and is anticipating his work load only to increase as time develops. Immediately the best of the best in this industry, those that have lived and breathed offshore wind already, are going to be seriously in demand.

How will you attract the best?

In a question of weeks and months, there are going to be up to 9 consortiums suddenly competing to secure the best teams in a short period of time. All of these groups of companies currently have key players already on board, but the development of a multi-MW wind farm demands significant resource and expertise. Employers, have you thought about how you are going to attract further players to your team? I’ve spoken to several people in the last few months who have claimed “we know who we want to hire already”, but have you considered that other people want to hire the same experts?

How will you create and implement a hiring strategy which allows you to identify quickly and efficiently the right people for your company, and then ensures that you are able to attract them without going through unnecessary to-ing or fro-ing, and most importantly without entering into a bidding frenzy?

How will you retain the best?

Have you also considered that other companies out there may have identified members of your existing team as the people they want to hire? How will you ensure that you retain your key players? Retention means ensuring that they are 100% comfortable where they are, and will not start to entertain your competitors’ flirtations of promotion, better benefits, more money, or increased responsibility?

Head-hunters are going to be all over this space. And whilst some of us do so with discretion, and with the best interests of all parties at heart (i.e. we have more values and ambition than just to make a quick buck), I warn you now that there are many who don’t.

You need to make sure that you have a strategy in place to hire the right people, and to retain the right people.

If you would like to discuss how you are going about this, please don’t hesitate to give me a call on 0845 241 4810 or email

By Clare Buxton
Wind Energy Sector Lead, EcoSearch

Follow @CEBUX on Twitter

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