Government throws its weight behind offshore wind power expansion

Mindy Sparks
Марта 10, 2019

The government will throw its weight behind an expansion in the use of offshore wind power in the hope the renewable energy source will provide a third of the UK's electricity by 2030.

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This includes an investment of up to £100m in a new industry programme, the Offshore Wind Growth Partnership, which will help United Kingdom companies seeking to grow their business in the rapidly-growing global offshore wind market.

Offshore wind now provides around 7 per cent of British power, but that could increase to more than 30 per cent by the end of the next decade, providing 27,000 jobs in the sector.

Energi Coast, North East England's offshore wind cluster, has declared the region's supply chain "fit and ready" to support the growth of the industry following the announcement of the Sector Deal for the offshore wind industry.

With the Sector Deal now in place, those exports are set to increase fivefold in value to £2.6 billion a year by 2030.

However, Greenpeace said the 30GW by 2030 installed capacity target is "woefully inadequate" in the light of the recent collapse of the Moorside and Wylfa nuclear developments, which it said had blown a 6.3GW hole in the nation's energy strategy. Further, offshore wind could also provide additional clean generating capacity for developing countries with populations that live without access to reliable electricity.

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Chris Claydon, chief executive of the ECITB, said: "The ECITB welcomes the Offshore Wind Sector Deal".

The move aims to reduce the cost of projects through the next decade so that by 2030, wind farms will be more affordable in a subsidy-free environment. This leaves Britain with a big energy gap in the future. We're setting up a new body to develop the right skills for years to come, not only by offering apprenticeships, but also by helping experienced people from other parts of the energy sector, as well as the military, to make the change into offshore wind.

The offshore wind industry has grown almost five-fold since 2011, with 23 gigawatts installed at the end of 2018 and a large volume of planned projects in Europe, China and the United States.

SSE Renewables director of generation development Paul Cooley said: "We welcome the sector deal as a long-term mutual commitment from government and industry to help harness the incredible wind resource that our coastlines offer and deliver significant economic opportunities".

Scottish Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse said: "Offshore wind has a key role to play in achieving our ambitious energy targets and delivering a low-carbon energy system".

Additionally, it "will look to seize on the opportunities presented by the UK's 7,000 miles of coastline, as the industry continues to be a coastal catalyst for numerous UK's former fishing villages and ports", the government statement said.

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