Report states how to build a UK offshore wind powerhouse

Report states how to build a UK offshore wind powerhouse

  • RenewableUK’s ‘Building an Industry’ report release
  • Government must act now and commit to the £60m offshore wind infrastructure competition to ensure key port infrastructure upgrades will go ahead as a key requirement to attracting manufacturing jobs
  • Government in conjunction with industry needs to agree a realistic target for delivery if sector is not to lose opportunity to create at least 45,000 jobs
  • Report identifies market stability is key to industrial development.

    The Coalition Government needs to act quickly and decisively to reaffirm Britain’s commitment to the development of offshore wind energy through confirming upgrades to port facilities, maintaining market stability and agreeing targets for energy production from wind. If this is done then an industry employing at least 45,000 people with a substantial manufacturing base can be created, according to a report published today by Douglas-Westwood commissioned by RenewableUK.

    The report, UK Offshore wind: Building an Industry, outlines scenarios for UK offshore wind development from 2015 to 2030. The lead “Healthy industry scenario”, would be capable of attracting a substantial and sustainable manufacturing base creating at least 45,000 UK-based jobs. Crucially, decisions on new factories will need to be made in the next 12-24 months if this is to be realized. In contrast, the “Low Added Value” scenario – which is in line with energy outputs from the Government’s Renewable Energy Strategy – would only see limited UK manufacturing facilities, and while it would provide the UK with a significant green energy production, it would be a missed opportunity for the UK in terms of jobs and industrialization.

    In the first quarter of 2010 turbine manufacturers Siemens and GE committed to a UK manufacturing presence following the Government announcement to fund port facility upgrades with the offshore wind infrastructure competition. The current optimistic outlook for the industry is driven by a combination of the potential size of the domestic market as well as confidence to-date in UK Government policy towards the sector.

    Commenting on the report, Maria McCaffery MBE, BWEA Chief Executive said:

    “Offshore wind presents the UK with a major opportunity not only reconfigure its energy production towards clean and renewable sources, but a once-in-generation opportunity to build a home-grown manufacturing and R&D base for a new industry, and become the world leader in the field.

    “Without firmer Government strategy we will get an offshore wind industry which produces clean energy for the UK, but one for the which the production facilities, and the manufacturing jobs are located elsewhere. If ambitious targets are agreed, and the Government acts now on a package of measures to drive forward the industry then wind can be the sector which drives forward the Coalition’s pledge to rebalance the economy and create jobs.”

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