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How to build a UK offshore wind powerhouse

The Coalition Government needs to act quickly and decisively to reaffirm Britain’s commitment to the development of offshore wind energy through confirming upgrades to port facilities, maintaining market stability and agreeing targets for energy production from wind, says RenewableUK.

If this is done then an offshore wind industry employing at least 45,000 people with a substantial manufacturing base can be created, according to a report by Douglas-Westwood commissioned by RenewableUK.

The report, UK Offshore wind: Building an Industry, outlines scenarios for UK offshore wind development from 2015 to 2030.

The lead Healthy Industry Scenario, would be capable of attracting a substantial and sustainable manufacturing base creating at least 45,000 UK-based jobs. Crucially, decisions on new factories will need to be made in the next 12-24 months if this is to be realised, the report says.

In contrast, the Low Added Value scenario – which is in line with energy outputs from the Government’s Renewable Energy Strategy – would only see limited UK manufacturing facilities, and while it would provide the UK with a significant green energy production, it would be a missed opportunity for the UK in terms of jobs and industrialisation, RenewableUK predicts.

Commenting on the report, Maria McCaffery, BWEA Chief Executive, says: “Offshore wind presents the UK with a major opportunity not only reconfigure its energy production towards clean and renewable sources, but a once-in-generation opportunity to build a home-grown manufacturing and R&D base for a new industry, and become the world leader in the field.

“Without firmer Government strategy we will get an offshore wind industry which produces clean energy for the UK, but one for which the production facilities and the manufacturing jobs are located elsewhere. If ambitious targets are agreed, and the Government acts now on a package of measures to drive forward the industry then wind can be the sector which drives forward the Coalition’s pledge to rebalance the economy and create jobs.”

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