UK Offshore Wind To Provide A Third Of Country’s Electricity By 2030

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The United Kingdom has finally announced the launch of its much-anticipated Offshore Wind Sector Deal, which will see the country’s offshore industry invest at least £250 million so as to ensure offshore wind generates more than 30% of the country’s electricity by 2030.

As is discussed here, the UK Government has been in talks with the country’s offshore wind industry over the creation of a Sector Deal — “Partnerships between the government and industry on sector-specific issues can create significant opportunities to boost productivity, employment, innovation, and skills” in support of the country’s Industrial Strategy which was implemented to reduce costs, increase productivity, decarbonize the UK economy, and grow a skilled workforce.

Yesterday, the UK’s Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry announced that the forthcoming Sector Deal would include  “Ambitious plans to increase the proportion of women working in the offshore wind sector and triple the number of highly skilled jobs.”

“The move to a cleaner, greener economy is outlined in our modern Industrial Strategy as one of the greatest economic opportunities of our time,” said Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry. “Working with the offshore wind industry, I want to ensure that women and young people benefit from this sea-change.

“This deal could support a tripling of jobs over the next few decades and it is exciting to see that the industry is encouraging my children’s generation – the UK’s workforce of the future – to propel themselves into the industry, giving them the skills they need to thrive in the sector.”

Today, Minister Claire Perry announced the launch of the new joint government-industry Offshore Wind Sector Deal which, amidst a whole host of ramifications, will help to create tens of thousands of highly-skilled UK jobs, attract billions of pounds in investment, and increase the country’s offshore capacity to at least 30 gigawatts (GW) by 2030 — up from 7.9 GW today.

“This new Sector Deal will drive a surge in the clean, green offshore wind revolution that is powering homes and businesses across the UK, bringing investment into coastal communities and ensuring we maintain our position as global leaders in this growing sector,” said Claire Perry, Energy & Clean Growth Minister. “By 2030 a third of our electricity will come from offshore wind, generating thousands of high-quality jobs across the UK, a strong UK supply chain, and a fivefold increase in exports. This is our modern Industrial Strategy in action.”

The plan will see the UK offshore wind industry invest £250 million, including new an Offshore Wind Growth Partnership to develop the UK supply chain — as global exports are set to increase fivefold to £2.6 billion by 2030 — which will help to triple the number of industry jobs to 27,000 by 2030. According to the press release published today by the UK Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the deal will also:

  • Increase the sector target for the amount of UK content in homegrown offshore wind projects to 60%, making sure that the £557 million pledged by the government in July 2018 for further clean power auctions over the next ten years will directly benefit local communities from Wick to the Isle of Wight

  • Spearhead a new £250 million Offshore Wind Growth Partnership to make sure UK companies in areas like the North East, East Anglia, Humber and the Solent and continue to be competitive and are leaders internationally in the next generation of offshore wind innovations in areas such as robotics, advanced manufacturing, new materials, floating wind and larger turbines

  • Boost global exports to areas like Europe, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the United States fivefold to £2.6 billion per year by 2030 through partnership between the Department of Trade and industry to support smaller supply chain companies to export for the first time

  • Reduce the cost of projects in the 2020s and overall system costs, so projects commissioning in 2030 will cost consumers less as we move towards a subsidy free world

  • See Crown Estate & Crown Estate Scotland release new seabed land from 2019 for new offshore wind developments

  • UK government alongside the deal will provide over £4 million pounds for British business to share expertise globally and open new markets for UK industry through a technical assistance programme to help countries like Indonesia, Vietnam, Pakistan and the Philippines skip dirty coal power and develop their own offshore wind projects

“Now that we’ve sealed this transformative 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,” said Benj Sykes, Ørsted UK Country Manager for Offshore and Co-Chair of the Offshore Wind Industry Council (OWIC), which was involved in negotiations with the Government.

“This relentlessly innovative sector is revitalising parts of the country which have never seen opportunities like this for years, especially coastal communities from Wick in the northern Scotland to the Isle of Wight, and from Barrow-in-Furness to the Humber. Companies are burgeoning in clusters, creating new centres of excellence in this clean growth boom. The Sector Deal will ensure that even more of these companies win work not only on here, but around the world in a global offshore wind market set to be worth £30 billion a year by 2030.”

The news was unsurprisingly welcomed by the country’s renewable energy groups.

“This sector deal is a major milestone for the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy, setting a clear path for offshore wind: one of ambition, optimism and innovation,” said Fabrice Leveque, Senior Policy Manager at Scottish Renewables. “That’s particularly true in Scotland, where the sector is building out again after delays which meant schemes in shallower waters further south powered ahead.

“The benefits that are being realised in places like Hull and Lowestoft are now starting to appear in Scotland’s coastal towns and cities like Wick and Invergordon, heralding a new, sustainable energy future from the seas,” Leveque continued. “With the support of government both at Westminster and in Edinburgh we, as an industry, can work together, as set out in this sector deal, to help ensure offshore wind’s benefits are felt across the country for decades to come.”

“The Sector Deal is about creating opportunities for the people who will be part of our 27,000-strong offshore wind workforce,” added Chief Executive of RenewableUK, Hugh McNeal. “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. We also want to ensure far more diversity in the industry, by reaching a target of at least  33% women employees by 2030, and by recruiting people from a wider variety of ethnic backgrounds.

“This Deal will also ensure that the UK maintains its leading role as an offshore wind  innovation hub, accelerating our world-class R&D in fields like robotics and AI, and cutting-edge technologies being put through their paces at our globally-renowned test facilities”.

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