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UK offshore wind industry unveils growth plan

The UK’s offshore wind sector is preparing for significant expansion with the introduction of an Industrial Growth Plan (IGP) by RenewableUK, the Offshore Wind Industry Council, and The Crown Estate.

This plan outlines strategies to triple offshore wind manufacturing capacity over the next decade, positioning the UK as a prominent player in the global offshore wind market.

Already a significant contributor to the UK economy, the offshore wind industry employs 32,000 individuals and each new large offshore wind farm adds £2-3 billion to the economy.

The IGP forecasts a surge in employment to over 100,000 by 2030, with investments in new offshore wind projects expected to create an economic opportunity worth up to £92 billion by 2040.

Central to the IGP’s success is its aim to accelerate offshore wind deployment in alignment with the UK’s net zero targets, targeting a capacity of 5-6GW per year.

Currently, the UK boasts the second-largest global pipeline of offshore wind projects, with nearly 100GW in various stages of development – six times the country’s current capacity.

The plan addresses critical supply chain constraints and identifies strategic opportunities for investment in manufacturing capabilities.

It focuses on five key technology areas, including offshore wind blades, turbine towers, foundations, cables and other essential components and services.

Additionally, the IGP emphasises the potential for technology innovation, with plans to incorporate automation and AI technologies to further reduce environmental impacts.

To mobilise funding for the IGP, RenewableUK anticipates an investment of nearly £3 billion nationwide, with private finance playing a significant role. It is estimated that for every £1 invested, the plan will yield a return of just under £9 to the UK economy.

Looking ahead, industry stakeholders are set to establish an IGP Delivery Body to govern and implement the plan effectively.

Energy Security Secretary Claire Coutinho said: “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.”

RenewableUK’s Chief Executive Dan McGrail said: “The UK will need three hundred giant turbine towers every year for offshore wind projects between now and 2030 to deliver government targets.

“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.”

Gus Jaspert, Managing Director, Marine at The Crown Estate, said: “As an early action, The Crown Estate is establishing a £50 million Supply Chain Accelerator to catalyse early-stage investment, with an initial £10 million pilot fund launching this summer to support supply chain opportunities created through the Celtic Sea Leasing Round 5 and a further £40 million earmarked aligned to the IGP.”

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