The UK’s offshore wind sector is set for huge expansion as we decarbonise our electricity system by 2035. As a popular, low-cost and scalable technology, offshore wind will, under almost all scenarios, need to treble by 2030 and our industry will employ nearly 100,000 people. The key challenge to meeting these ambitions is to unlock investment at the scale and speed needed.
Success in securing new inward investment and supply chain development in the UK will dependent on the attractiveness of the UK as a global destination and our building our competitive advantage in key areas. In his report to Government on accelerating offshore wind deployment, Tim Pick recommended establishing an ‘Industrial Growth Plan for Offshore Wind, aligned between Government, industry and other key stakeholders… which takes into account the UK’s comparative advantages and opportunities for disruption’.
We believe that an IGP should set the vision for the UK’s unique value proposition within a globally competitive offshore wind supply chain and develop a roadmap for both securing key supply chain for domestic deployment ambitions, as well as establishing strategies to develop high UK value-add and global market share goods and services. We will do this building on the upcoming OWIC Supply Chain Capability Analysis, the Floating Offshore Wind Taskforce’s reports and the experience of what has worked in our sector, as well as wider industries in the UK and elsewhere.
The IGP will provide a clear framework to guide investment, both public and private, into areas in which the UK can, on the basis of clear evidence, expect to best secure the best competitiveness, energy security and economic growth returns across the UK.
As mentioned, the IGP will be informed by the Floating Offshore Wind Taskforce, a collaborative group between industry and government. Building on the success of its report on the necessary UK-based port transformations for the mass roll-out of floating wind, the next phase of effort will focus on crafting a 2050 vision for floating wind. Due early next year, this vision aims to clearly articulate the vital role that floating wind will play in the twenty-first century, and incorporate value chain analysis to define key investments which enable not only the commercialisation of floating wind technology, but which also define and differentiate the UK’s capabilities and unique selling points to maximise domestic and international opportunities.
If you cannot wait until next year, many members of the Taskforce will be present at RenewableUK’s Floating Offshore Wind 2023 conference in Aberdeen, taking place between 4th – 5th October. Find additional information on this networking event here.
Written by Luke Clark, Director of Industrial Development, and Laurie Heyworth, Senior Policy Analyst at RenewableUK