28 January 2019

Challenge brings great opportunity as offshore wind sector evolves

A strategic collaboration between the region’s largest law firm and the Humber’s legal experts on shipping and logistics will provide a comprehensive service to the region’s growing offshore wind sector.

Wilkin Chapman, which sits in the UK’s top 200 law firms, has entered into an arrangement with Hull-based Myton Law as 2019 sees it offer a comprehensive range of services to the whole renewables industry.

With its headquarters in Grimsby and offices in Beverley and across greater Lincolnshire, Wilkin Chapman has specialists in all areas, including corporate and commercial, employment, HR, regulatory and compliance, commercial and domestic property law.

It also has a depth of knowledge within the renewables sector, which dates to when the industry was in its infancy. It began assisting farmers with the erection of single turbines onshore and the operation of anaerobic digestion systems, before providing an integral role in the legal services required for the development of the O&M operations at the Port of Grimsby East.

However, with a gap in the firm’s knowledge of shipping law and the more niche aspects of law surrounding rail and haulage, it was happy to look at collaboration with Myton, the region’s specialists in shipping, rail and logistics.

“We were happy to look at collaboration, thereby offering a seamless range of highly competitive services to the offshore sector,” explained Wilkin Chapman Regulatory Partner Jonathan Goolden.

For Scott Yates, Myton Law’s co-founder and Director, the collaboration offers huge opportunity for both firms.

“The collaboration between our firms in the offshore renewables sector makes perfect sense. We are both well known for our core services and we both act for clients involved in the industry. This alliance now enables us both to offer a truly comprehensive range of specialist legal services to those existing clients but also to other players in the sector which will undoubtedly be appealing,” said Scott.

Meanwhile Jonathan’s predictions for the offshore wind sector during 2019 include a concentration on cost efficiency. He explains how operators, who are now using more advanced and proven technology, are attracting more private investors as they look to a subsidy-free future.

They are also having to continue to engage in the ‘reverse auction’ Contract for Difference process - winning permissions to operate on the Crown-owned seabed by bidding ever lower subsidy requirements. The Government’s aim is, of course, to reduce subsidies to nil.

However, this is likely to put pressure on those in the supply chain, or those looking to win such work - with a constant need to be as efficient as possible with no compromise on reliability or quality.

As a result, SMEs looking to retain or win contracts will need to ensure they have the correct structures in place to maximise their opportunities. And as the sector evolves speed of change is paramount, he adds.

“There will be further consolidation within the supply chain as the operators look at ways of reducing costs and this provides regional opportunities as they look for professional support locally with expertise offered at provincial rates.

“However, the question for the Humber is, can it become a centre of excellence for this technology quickly enough to meet that need,” adds Jonathan.

Jonathan Goolden, Wilkin Chapman LLP
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