Posted on: 12/03/2019
The renewables industry has welcomed the UK Government’s Offshore Wind Sector Deal, which aims to generate a third of the UK’s power from turbines at sea by 2030.
Energy Minister Claire Perry said the industry would invest at least £250 million, including into an Offshore Wind Growth Partnership, helping to trigger £40 billion of infrastructure investment and a fivefold increase in exports to £2.6bn.
Under the plans, offshore wind capacity will rise from 7.9GW at present to more than 30GW by 2030, with the Crown Estate and Crown Estate Scotland releasing more seabed plots for turbines.
Ministers want the UK content of “homegrown” wind farms to reach 60%, with the investments aiming to lower the cost of turbines so they can compete in a subsidy-free market.
‘Coming of age’
Matthew Wright, UK Managing Director at Ørsted, said: “The sector deal marks the coming of age of offshore wind as both a significant part of the UK’s energy transformation and an industrial powerhouse driving economic growth.”
James Ritchie, Chairman of Energi Coast and Chief Executive of Tekmar Group, said: “The sector deal will support the development of supply chain clusters, such as the maturing Energi Coast group of companies in the North East of England, which builds on a heritage from maritime and subsea oil and gas and have been at the forefront of this exciting renewable sector since its inception.”
The sector deal aims to increase the offshore wind workforce to 27,000 people by 2030, including a target for a third of those workers to be women.
Hugh McNeal, Chief Executive at trade body RenewableUK, said: “We’re setting up a new body to develop the right skills for years to come, not only by offering apprenticeships, but also by helping experienced people from other parts of the energy sector, as well as the military, to make the change into offshore wind.”
Officials highlighted how British companies are already exporting components and expertise to more than 20 countries, with the aim to boost sales to Europe, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the United States by 500% under the deal.
Benj Sykes, Co-Chair of the Offshore Wind Industry Council, said: “Now that we’ve sealed this landmark deal with our partners in government, as a key part of the UK’s Industrial Strategy, offshore wind is set to take its place at the heart of our low-carbon, affordable and reliable electricity system of the future."
“This relentlessly innovative sector is revitalising parts of the country with transformational, sustainable opportunities, especially coastal communities, from Wick in the north of Scotland to the Isle of Wight, and from Barrow-in-Furness to the Humber.”