One of the roles of the Partnership’s Business Development service is to help you understand the new market opportunities available for your business to access here in the Buffalo Niagara region. One of the ways we are doing this is through programs like this morning’s “Connecting your Company: Business Opportunities in the Wind Supply Chain.” The wind supply chain is one of those important new opportunities, and as pointed out by Dave Flynn, a partner at program sponsor Phillips Lytle, who specializes in environmental law and the energy, in particular with continued expansion of renewable energy sources, wind power is a long term and stable growth opportunity.
Some important themes to keep in mind when looking to establish a presence or expand existing presence in the wind supply chain:
*Bruce Hayward of Gleason Works, a gear company who supplies directly to OEMs, emphasized that it’s important to match your core competencies – whether as a manufacturer or an environmental engineering firm – with the industry before entering.
*Networking is key to successful entry. Get out to industry events, connect with local companies who are already suppliers, learn the ropes before you enter. There are some great resources out there to help you gain access to key players as you begin to enter the market. Some examples are the American Wind Energy Association, the Alliance for Clean Energy New York, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
*Think the only way to supply the wind supply chain is through the large OEMs like GE Wind and Clipper? Think again. The suppliers to the OEMs are looking for suppliers themselves. With hundreds of components in a tower, there are extensive opportunities for companies to work support this work.
*Manufacturers aren’t the only companies who can access the industry – strong service companies are essential as well. Construction, cranes, catering, attorneys, banks, marketing firms, are just a fraction of the types of companies needed in the development of, ongoing maintenance, and retrofitting and upgrading existing installations.
The time is now to get involved, and there are a few opportunities that can’t be missed for you and your company to get a head start. First, don’t forget to attend the second part of the Connecting your Company series, Funding Opportunities in the Wind Supply Chain. To reference Gleason Works again, a major capital investment was necessary for their firm – around $7-8 million dollars in addition to process improvements, system changes, and extensive research and development. How are you planning to fund your entry? Join us on April 15th 8:30-10:30am at the Buffalo Club to answer this piece of the puzzle.
Finally, the New York Power Authority (NYPA) has released an RFP for an offshore wind installation in Lake Erie and/or Lake Ontario. A big piece of the RFP and something the Partnership fought for is utilizing local vendors and suppliers as a preference in response. To be included on the list of available resources for the companies responding to the RFP, visit the NYPA website and get listed!