Offshore wind will provide a third of the UK’s electricity needs by 2030, under the terms of a new industry-government sector deal.
This would entail nearly quadrupling the UK’s offshore wind generation capacity from its existing level 7.9GW now to at least 30GW by the end of the next decade.
Fresh tracts of the UK seabed are due to be released later this year by the Crown Estate to accommodate the new windfarms.
The offshore wind sector deal also includes a commitment to increase in the sector’s target for the amount of UK content in homegrown offshore wind projects to 60 per cent.
And the industry has confirmed that it will invest £250 million under the deal, including £100 million in a new offshore wind growth partnership to develop its UK supply chain.
The deal also includes a target to nearly quadruple the number of “green collar” jobs in the offshore wind industry from 7,200 today to 27,000 by 2030, of whom at least one-third should be women.
Hugh McNeal, chief executive of Renewable UK said that a new body will be established under the deal to develop offshore wind industry skills through a combination of apprenticeships and retraining people from other parts of the energy sector and the military.
Fabrice Leveque, senior policy manager at Scottish Renewables, added: “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.”
Commenting on the launch of the sector deal, Energy UK’s chief executive, Lawrence Slade, said: “Today’s sector deal, and continued investment from industry, will create a global offshore wind market set to be worth £30 billion a year by 2030 and further cement the UK’s position as a world-leader in offshore wind.
“The offshore wind industry has been a great success story for the UK bringing thousands of skilled jobs and billions in investment, while delivering clean energy at an ever-falling cost to customers. As we rise to meet the future challenges of tackling climate change, this sector deal and a continued commitment from government, will ensure a strong future for renewables as we decarbonise and deliver the industrial strategy.”
A spokesperson for the National Infrastructure Commission said: “Our National Infrastructure Assessment – the first of its kind for the UK – recommends that ministers aim for half of the UK’s electricity generation to come from renewables by 2030.
“Today’s deal emphasises how a move towards that could not just benefit our environment, but also our economy – and form a key part of the government’s Industrial Strategy.”