This includes a multi-million pound investment which could 'unlock' £7 billion in the economy by 2020 and create 30,000 jobs.
The government investment includes £20 million from the Regional Growth Fund to improve the UK wind industry’s supply chain, and £46 million to join up innovation between industry, government and academia and help companies to bring new products to market.
The UK currently has more offshore wind power than the rest of the world combined. The offshore wind industrial strategy aims to grow UK supply chain manufacturing so that more of the work and jobs can be done here.
The strategy includes the creation of a new Offshore Wind Investment Organisation, established by UKTI, to attract inward investment to the UK, and industry-led initiatives to share information with the supply chain about their procurement timelines and contracting decision points. It also puts in place a proposal that would require developers of offshore wind farms above a certain size to produce a supply chain plan before they can apply for a Contract for Difference – long-term contracts to provide stable revenues for investors in low carbon energy projects – setting out how the project and procurement approaches will encourage a wider, more diverse supply chain and support innovation and skills.
The government also plans to expand the scope of the DECC offshore wind manufacturing funding scheme to support port and coastal infrastructure development in assisted areas of England. Any grants offered will be conditional on sites securing manufacturing investment.
Besides the government investment, the Green Investment Bank plans to invest a significant proportion of its £3.8 billion capital in offshore wind, co-investing in projects with commercial parties.
“The race is now on to lead the world in clean, green energy. As an island nation, and with our weather, the UK is ideally placed to make the most of offshore wind energy – you could say it was a technology designed for us,” said deputy prime minister Nick Clegg. “This strategy will help keep Britain as the world leader in one of the most important industries of the 21st century. If we make the most of offshore wind’s potential in the UK, it can provide a big proportion of the energy that lights our homes and powers our economy.”
“We have more offshore wind power than the rest of the world combined and, if we get it right and strike now, we will also see this new technology creating thousands of jobs here as well,” said business secretary Vince Cable. “The key achievement of the strategy is to develop a strong commitment by the industry to develop a UK supply chain together with ambitious plans to deliver it. I would hope to see something approaching the 70 per cent that we already see in the oil and gas sector of supply chain made in Britain.
“The commitment and partnership that this strategy represents is an important step in giving the industry more confidence to invest here in Britain; build factories, increase capacity at ports, develop skills and carry out high-end research to tackle the problems posed by the unforgiving offshore environment.”
Recently, the London Array, the largest operating wind farm in the world, was opened, and UK secretary of state for energy Edward Davey has just given planning permission to build an even bigger offshore wind farm, Triton Knoll, off the Lincolnshire and Norfolk coast.
The Offshore Wind Industrial Sector Strategy can be viewed here.