11 April 2018

Legal considerations before climbing the renewables ladder

Adam Ottley, a solicitor specialising in corporate and commercial law with Wilkin Chapman solicitors, advises businesses on how they can position themselves to seize opportunities in the growing renewables sector within the Humber region.

The burgeoning offshore wind industry has been hailed as a ‘golden dawn’ for the Humber region.

Its growth over the last decade represents a sea-change in the prosperity of the east coast, with many saying the turbines that we see off-shore will do for the Humber, ‘what oil did for Aberdeen’.

But what of the opportunities that this affords to businesses in the region and how can they position themselves, so they are best able to capitalise?

For some the prospect of getting a foothold in the renewables’ supply chain can perhaps seem daunting, but there are certainly major benefits in aiming for success. However, it is vital they plan properly.

For example, many SMEs will operate with little specialist in-house legal expertise. Therefore, a broad legal review of the SME’s operations may well be needed before it comes to being vetted for contracts by the larger, European wind industry giants. This is of course alongside it being crucial to gain advice on the terms of the contract itself.

Confidence in the SME’s ability to deliver contracts safely and on time must also be assured and for some this may involve looking at investing in larger premises, upscaling their own supply chain and employing more staff. Again, this is where sound legal advice must be delivered so that the SME is clear as to how it can release itself from a long-term lease, or what is required to secure new premises.

The lack of any permanent HR facility is another understandable gap for many SMEs. However, SMEs must put themselves on a strong footing when engaging new consultants, or temporary or permanent employees. The last thing any firm wants is to start a major contract and face issues with its workforce half way through.

As an alternative to ‘going it alone’, in recent years there has been evidence of SMEs looking to collaborate, allowing businesses to join forces to win larger contracts. Again, getting your legal houses in order is vital to ensure each party knows its role and responsibilities from the outset and both parties are confident in the others’ ability to fulfil their respective obligations.

It is clear that the renewable energy sector has grown and will continue to grow in the Humber and the developers of the large projects can only thrive with the support of local businesses. But are you ready to dip your toes into the supply chain? Wilkin Chapman is happy to advise clients ready to take the next step.

Please do come and speak to us on our stand at the Offshore Wind Conference 2018 - Double tree Hilton Hull on April 25th and 26th.

You can contact Adam Ottley on 01472 262626, email adam.ottley@wilkinchapman.co.uk, or visit wilkinchapman.co.uk.

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