UK needs 300 turbine towers every year to hit 2030 offshore wind target

The UK will need to source 300 giant turbine towers and 900 blades every year for the next six years to meet the government’s goal of 50GW of offshore wind by 2030.

That is according to a joint report by Renewable UK, the Offshore Wind Industry Council, The Crown Estate and Crown Estate Scotland, which sets out how the UK can triple its offshore wind manufacturing capacity over the next 10 years.

The consortium’s Industrial Growth Plan warns that “supply chain constraints in many of the key components needed in offshore wind farms are already starting to be felt in the global market”.

To ensure the UK is able to meet its ambitious targets, the plan calls for the creation of strategic new factories and manufacturing capabilities in the UK “to protect against supply chain risks and boost economic growth”.

The plan identifies five key technology areas in which the UK should prioritise investment. These include the design and manufacture of offshore wind blades and turbine towers, foundations, cables and other key components and services for projects here and abroad.

The report points out that there is currently no UK tower manufacture capacity.

It adds that strong European demand for towers and blades could see the UK miss out on key components unless it secures capacity now.

The report adds that “towers and blade manufacturing have significant potential [to] stimulate economic growth and job creation”.

Under the growth plan, the UK’s offshore wind industry would grow from 32,000 employees to more than 100,000 by 2030, creating up to £92 billion for the UK by 2040.

Renewable UK’s chief executive Dan McGrail said: “The plan charts a clear course for us to ensure that we seize that massive economic opportunity and maximise our opportunities to manufacture those towers here, along with more blades, cables, foundations and a whole range of other products.

“By using this as a blueprint to work closely with all our partners in the sector, we can triple the size of that supply chain, ramp up our offshore wind capacity significantly and secure a huge increase in jobs, all within the next ten years.”

Energy security secretary Claire Coutinho added: “Britain’s windswept shorelines give us a competitive advantage in the global race for energy. That’s why, since 2010, Britain has been second only to China in building new offshore wind.”