Offshore wind to get UK-wide boost
New Offshore Wind Sector Deal from UK Government hailed as a "major milestone" by Scottish Renewables
Wind turbines - Creative commons
A third of Britain’s electricity supply could be met by offshore wind generation by 2030, according to plans announced by the UK Government.
A joint deal between government and industry will see UK renewables companies invest £250m to boost productivity and innovation, with £100m of the investment earmarked for a new Offshore Wind Growth Partnership to develop the UK supply chain.
The move could triple the UK's 'green collar' workforce to 27,000 over the next decade, with global exports from the sector set to increase fivefold to £2.6bn.
Announcing the deal, Claire Perry, Energy & Clean Growth Minister, 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 fivefold increase in exports. This is our modern Industrial Strategy in action.”
The Scottish Government’s Energy Minister, Paul Wheelhouse, said: “Scotland is internationally recognised as a key location in the development of the offshore wind sector with world leading projects in both fixed-bottom and floating offshore wind. Our Energy Strategy clearly sets out our ambitions for the sector and the opportunities we see for continued innovation.
“Offshore wind has a key role to play in achieving our ambitious energy targets and delivering a low-carbon energy system. Scotland has massive offshore wind potential with a large share of Europe's offshore wind resources and the commitment that the sector deal represents from government, academia and industry will help ensure that our world-leading offshore wind sector develops successfully and sustainably.
“The publication of the Offshore Wind Sector Deal today is a contract between government and industry to deliver further on these ambitions, setting challenging goals and committing to collaborative working. Offshore wind brings growth and high value jobs to Scotland’s economy so we will work closely with the UK Government and industry to ensure all the opportunities in this deal are maximised and developments in Scotland optimise their impact on the Scottish and UK economies.”
Responding, Fabrice Leveque, senior policy manager at Scottish Renewables, said: “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.
“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.
“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.”
Keith Anderson, Scottish Power Chief Executive, said: “Scottish Power is proof that offshore wind works, we’ve worked tirelessly to bring down costs and, having transitioned to 100 per cent renewable energy, will be building more windfarms to help the UK shift to a clearer electric economy. Two of our offshore windfarms in the East Anglia will replace all of the old thermal generation we’ve sold and we are ready to invest more by actively pursuing future offshore projects both north and south of the border.
“We have a fantastic supply chain already in place in the UK, from businesses in and around East Anglia to across England, across Scotland as well as Northern Ireland. The Sector Deal will attract even more businesses in the UK to join the offshore wind supply chain and we are excited to see the transformative impact this will have on our projects.”
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