In an agreement the sector said will help to create “tens of thousands of highly-skilled jobs” across the UK and attract “billions of pounds in investment”, offshore wind production is set to increase from around seven per cent of British power to more than 30 per cent by the end of the next decade, providing 27,000 jobs in the sector.
It would mean that, for the first time, more electricity is generated by renewables than fossil fuels, with a predicted 70 per cent of power coming from low-carbon sources by 2030. It is hoped the green power “revolution” will be helped by a new deal between the Government and industry to develop the supply chain and boost global exports.
Yorkshire is home to a hub of activity spanning the lifecycle of offshore wind farms, from the Siemens Gamesa factory at Hull’s Alexandra Dock, which next year will begin producing the world’s largest single-cast turbine blades for the Hornsea 2 wind farm, 55 miles off the Yorkshire coast; to the corridor of existing and planned wind farms stretching from Dogger Bank and Hornsea down to North Lincolnshire.
The new deal will increase the sector’s target for the share of UK-based production for offshore wind projects to 60 per cent, to ensure the £557m pledged by the Government for future clean power auctions benefit local communities around the country.
Smaller supply chain companies will be supported to export for the first time, to help boost global exports, while there will be efforts to reduce the costs of offshore wind projects to help move to a subsidy-free system.
Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry said: “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. 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 five-fold increase in exports.”
The Co-Chair of the Offshore Wind Industry Council, Benj Sykes, said the deal meant offshore wind would be set to take its place “at the heart of our low-carbon, affordable and reliable electricity system of the future”.
He added: “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. 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 in the UK, but around the world in a global offshore wind market set to be worth £30bn a year by 2030.”
Green campaigners suggested the announcement did not go far enough.
Greenpeace UK said that renewables needed to be scaled up even more, with wind and solar tripled by 2030.
Executive director John Sauven said: “The Government’s plans for a fleet of new nuclear reactors has collapsed. This leaves Britain with a big energy gap in the future. It means the Government’s latest offshore wind target of 30 gigawatts by 2030 is woefully inadequate.”
However, Energy UK’s chief executive, Lawrence Slade, said the deal would “further cement” the UK’s position as a world-leader in offshore wind, and industry-body RenewableUK applauded the future job opportunities.a