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Government Should Embrace Offshore Wind Opportunities

Posted: 23/04/2018

A new report has urged the UK’s government to recognise the opportunities that the offshore wind industry presents for the country, and to support its growth in the coming years.

Former energy minister Sir Michael Fallon MP, has written an extensive report - entitled Winning Locally, Going Global - on how to boost the prospects of the UK’s offshore wind industry, providing a number of recommendations for the government to consider.

He wants to see the current 50 per cent UK content target for British offshore wind projects increased to 60 per cent for the remaining £550 million spend to 2025 because some operators are already close to hitting the 50 per cent target.

Sir Michael also wants the government to agree a UK offshore wind sector deal to put the industry at the heart of the Industrial Strategy on a par with areas such as aerospace, defence and pharmaceuticals.

He also wants to see the north-east of England recognised as “the leading centre for the newest technologies in turbine and blade development, cabling and electricity storage”.

In fact, Ray Thompson, Head of Business Development for Siemens Gamesa, recently highlighted due that the Humber region is the “envy of the world” at a recent speech about the sector, Insider Media reported.

Mr Thompson, who spoke at the Offshore Wind Connections conference held during April, told attendees that people from all over the world are now coming to Hull to see how best to introduce the latest offshore wind technology.

“The Humber is seen as the benchmark location for offshore wind - it is the envy of the world,” he mentioned. “Not only do we have a successful blade manufacturing facility on the quay edge where it needs to be, but we have also delivered, commissioned and proven Hull as a world-class facility for project execution,” he added

Of course, in addition to the continued innovation where technology is concerned, the industry also needs to ensure it operates to the highest health and safety standards possible. That means that any firm in the offshore wind sector needs to ensure that all its employees have had the relevant GWO training and are familiar with health and safety procedures as well as any sited-based emergency response plans.

Sir Michael also wants to ensure that the true benefits of the offshore wind industry are recognised in the UK, which means there should be more transparent reporting of expenditure and development surrounding each project.

This would enable people to more clearly see the “added value in both jobs and local skills”, he asserted.

“If the sector is able to invest as a result of higher local content, it can grow and export throughout the world,” Sir Michael stated. He added: “Given the explosion of interest in offshore wind in overseas markets, positive policy, strategic planning and early investment could deliver more than 25,000 jobs in the UK over the next decade.”

Bill Scott, Chief Executive of Wilton Engineering, which has supported Sir Michael’s report, stressed the potential for the UK’s offshore wind sector and urged the government to support it and help it grow as more and more countries around the world look to decarbonise their energy supply.