In partnership with the Government, the UK offshore wind industry has unveiled plans for a £48bn investment into offshore wind, creating an extra 16,000 skilled jobs. Tony McDonough reports
Liverpool city region could reap the benefit of a massive expansion in the UK offshore wind sector between now an 2030.
In partnership with the Government, the UK offshore wind industry has unveiled plans for a £48bn investment into offshore wind, creating an extra 16,000 skilled jobs with the aim of supply one-third of the country’s electricity needs.
This scaled up ambition, coupled with the Government’s Clean Growth Strategy, means the industry will more than double its capacity from 13GW deployed or contracted today, to 30GW by 2030.
The announcement was welcomed by Danish renewable energy giant Ørsted, which operates a huge wind farm in Liverpool Bay as well as a recently completed onshore operations centre in Wirral Waters and is a member of local industry body, Mersey Maritime.
Its recently completed Burbo Bank extension, 7km off the coast, can generate enough electricity to power 230,000 homes utilising the most powerful commercial turbines in the world. This rises to 310,000 homes when the output of the original Burbo Bank wind farm is added.
Liverpool city region has now established considerable know-how and expertise in offshore wind and its supply chain is well-placed to take advantage of extra investment over the next decade.
Last year the offshore wind sector hailed the approach of a “breakthrough” moment when it was revealed the cost of subsiding the industry had fallen to to 57.50 per megawatt-hour, far exceeding Government expectations and well below the price of £92.50 awarded in 2016 to the Hinkley nuclear power station.
The sector is now offering to make a number of new commitments from the industry to support the objectives of the Government’s Industrial Strategy – prioritising innovation, creating new business opportunities, generating high-quality jobs, helping communities to prosper and upgrading UK infrastructure.
For example it has identified the potential to invest a further £48bn in essential energy infrastructure by 2030, which could reduce overall electricity system costs by 9%.
Sector analysis also shows how the growing global offshore wind market, expected to reach over £30bn per annum by 2030, presents huge export opportunities for the UK. If a deal is agreed, the industry believes it can grow its export value five-fold by 2030.
Matthew Wright, UK managing director at Ørsted, said: “The UK is the global leader in offshore wind and to date the industry has attracted huge amounts of investment in the UK, whilst reducing costs and producing clean renewable energy.
“We are proud to have played our part in this; we have nine operational wind farms in the UK which, combined, provide enough green electricity to power over 2m UK homes each year.
“With the industry’s ambitious 2030 target of 30GW we can expect to see yet more economic growth, more jobs and more opportunities for UK supply chain companies.
“By collaborating with academic institutions and other businesses, we will continue to lead the world in offshore wind and support the Government with its Clean Growth ambitions.”
Ørsted’s operations centre at Kings Wharf, which employs 45 people, brings its total investment into the North West since 2005 to £5.4bn.The company has also committed to a Burbo Bank Extension Community Fund worth approximately £225,000 each year for the lifetime of the project.