Global offshore wind presents a £30bn opportunity for UK firms

2nd October 2018

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Christelle Zemkoho

The global offshore wind sector could be worth as much as £30bn to British firms every year by 2030, with China, the US, Germany and India all seeking to benefit from the UK’s expertise.

That is according to a new prospectus commissioned by the Offshore Wind Industry Council (OWIC), which is working on a deal with the government that would deliver at least a third of the UK’s electricity from offshore wind by 2030.

The document forecasts that the sector would employ around 27,000 people in Britain by that time, and expects UK companies to be winning contracts to work on projects all over the world.

It outlines how these businesses are already leaders for key services like designing, building and operating offshore wind farms, as well as manufacturing turbine blades and cables.

Former McLaren Group CEO and Formula 1 team principal Martin Whitmarsh, who was appointed earlier this year to conduct a supply chain review for the OWIC, said the opportunities were “exciting and substantial”.

“These opportunities won’t only be for ‘traditional’ offshore wind suppliers involved with components like turbines, foundations, boats and cables, but also in robotics, drones, sensors and big data,” he added.

The prospectus also highlights further opportunities for the supply chain to grow in the UK through manufacturing more turbine towers and foundations.

It predicts that an ambitious deal between the sector and government could result in around 60% of UK offshore wind farms being provided by British firms by 2030, up from 48% today.

Further innovation in turbine blade technology and materials and higher voltage cables could also help growth in the sector, along with floating turbines like those unveiled in Scotland last year.

Moreover, the document outlines how offshore wind can help provide flexibility to modern energy systems, and suggests building on knowledge from the aerospace, automotive and space industries to foster more innovation.

Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult chief executive Andrew Jamieson said: "The UK has been highly successful in recent years in developing truly world-leading expertise, but the real growth story is just beginning.

“This report highlights the huge domestic and international opportunities over the coming years for innovative UK companies in fields like robotics, artificial intelligence, data and digitalisation and autonomous systems.”

Image cerdit: Shutterstock


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