Published on September 15th, 2017 | by Joshua S Hill0
UK Offshore Wind Industry Increasingly Reliant Upon Local Sources
September 15th, 2017 by Joshua S Hill
A new study published this month shows that the UK offshore wind industry is increasingly reliant upon local companies, with 48% of the expenditure in planning, building, and running offshore wind projects going to UK companies.
For the burgeoning UK offshore wind industry, these are important findings, as they reveal that the industry has almost reached its target of sourcing 50% of its work in Britain — originally set to be reached by 2020. Published by the trade body for the UK offshore wind industry, RenewableUK, the new report, Offshore Wind Industry Investment in the UK, shows that local sourcing has increased by 5% from 43% in 2015.
The report analyzed data provided by eight major UK offshore wind farms, each of which reached Final Investment Decision between 2010 and 2015. Specifically, the report identified that local sourcing increased at every stage of a wind farm’s lifecycle — from development, through construction and into operation. British companies are particularly involved in the development stage of the process, with an average of 73% of the work being awarded to local companies — a 16% increase over the 2015 report. This includes all the major licensing, planning, and surveying work necessary before an offshore wind farm can be built.
“This report shows that offshore wind has become a key part of the UK economy, creating much-needed jobs not only in coastal communities like Hull, Grimsby and Great Yarmouth, but also across the country in the ever-expanding supply chain,” said RenewableUK’s Chief Executive, Hugh McNeal. “A huge number of British companies are heavily involved in building the UK’s world-leading offshore wind sector.”
Further, the UK’s offshore wind energy sector is ranked as one of the country’s largest infrastructure investment pipelines by value — eclipsing that being spent in the aviation, broadband, and mobile sectors — and is expected to invest £11.5 billion over the next five years. Beyond investment in specific offshore wind projects, companies are investing huge amounts into manufacturing throughout the country. DONG Energy is expected to invest £6 billion into the Humber region of England between 2013 and 2019 — which will support 1,600 construction jobs annually, 500 long-term jobs, provide £1.2 billion in value to the region and result in clean electricity to meet the equivalent needs of 1.5 million homes — while Siemens and Associated British Ports have invested £310 million in state-of-the-art wind turbine assembly and blade manufacturing plants at Alexandra Dock in Hull.
“The offshore wind industry is growing at a rapid pace, with £11.5bn of investment in new UK offshore wind farms due to take place over the next four years,” said Minister for Energy and Industry, Richard Harrington MP. “This report demonstrates the strength of this growing sector and the positive impact it is having on the UK supply chain. We will continue to support offshore wind developments through our Industrial Strategy, helping to reduce carbon emissions while growing the economy.”
“As well as producing renewable energy at scale, offshore wind is also delivering significant benefits to the UK economy and this report underlines that British companies are an essential part of building and operating these major infrastructure projects,” added Benj Sykes, Co-Chair of the Offshore Wind Industry Council, who commissioned the report. “We’re seeing the supply chain for offshore wind grow from strength to strength, delivering innovative new solutions to help reduce costs and making a positive impact on communities right across the country. Offshore wind also has a central role to play in the Government’s Industrial Strategy, supporting the ambition to boost productivity, deliver low-cost decarbonisation and rebalance the economy.”