Offshore wind in the UK

The UK is home to the largest offshore wind energy portfolio in the world and ranks highly as the best place to invest.

A prime location for global giants

The UK places highly in international rankings for the best place to invest in offshore wind and has managed to attract investment from across the globe for related infrastructure and manufacturing.

Suppliers like Siemens and MHI Vestas Offshore have already chosen the UK as their site for future world class manufacturing facilities, and there are significant opportunities for further investment in the supply chain.

We already have 5.7 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind installed or under construction. We’re on track to deliver 10GW by 2020 - this represents the largest expansion in any class of renewable energy technology in the UK.

We’re also home to the largest operational offshore wind farm in the world, London Array (630 megawatts). By 2020, we’ll have the world’s first wind farm generating over 1GW of energy, at Dong Energy’s Hornsea Project One located off the coast of Yorkshire. This wind farm will be capable of powering over one million UK homes.

Our industry and government are working together to build a competitive and innovative supply chain that creates and sustains jobs, exports and economic benefits for the UK.

UK companies lead the world in services for the design, development, financing, construction and operation of offshore wind plants. There are also investment opportunities in the supply chain for the manufacturing of wind turbine components.

An expanding pool of offshore wind experts

With clusters of wind farms forming across the UK, we offer a competitive and innovative climate for offshore wind investment. The offshore wind sector currently employs around 15,000 people, with this number growing year-on-year as the industry develops.

Our rich history of working offshore means we have thousands of skilled workers. Their experience of working in other parts of the offshore energy sector ensures a smooth transition into offshore wind.

The biggest areas of UK offshore employment and expertise are:

  • site planning and development
  • construction and installation
  • manufacturing and manufacturing design
  • operations and maintenance
  • specialised transport and other support services

Top universities like Manchester, Sheffield and Strathclyde all offer subjects which support students entering the offshore wind industry.

Companies in the UK benefit from specialist training providers, such as Maersk Training, Advanced Industrial Solutions and Siemens, that offer highly specialised training for the offshore wind industry.

Government help for offshore wind development in the UK

The UK government has made a commitment to invest in offshore wind energy for generations to come. The current installed offshore wind capacity of 5.7GW is due to increase to 10 GW by 2020, and then to increase by an estimated 10GW by 2030.

The UK enjoys a longstanding reputation for operating stable and predictable regimes to support investment in renewable electricity infrastructure. Contracts for difference (CfD) provide stable long-term revenues for offshore wind projects, giving certainty on returns for investors.

Alongside a supportive policy regime, the UK government supports its offshore wind industry by:

  • providing market confidence and demand visibility (critical for investment by developers and the supply chain)
  • building a competitive supply chain that attracts inward investment
  • offering support to UK-based companies to develop the capability and capacity to bid for, and win, contracts in the UK and overseas
  • supporting innovation that is vital to achieving cost reduction
  • enabling new players to enter the market with new product designs
  • providing support to access funding for developers and the supply chain
  • building a highly skilled workforce

The government also has up to 50 billion GBP available to support finance and insurance for supplies from within the UK to buyers outside the UK. This support takes the form of guarantees, insurance and loans issued by its export credit agency, UK Export Finance.

The low carbon technology market

The UK has a growing low carbon economy. In 2015 there were around 233,000 workers in low carbon-related roles, generating 42.2 billion GBP in turnover.

Clean energy investments in the UK have more than doubled since 2010, rising from 10.8 billion USD in 2010 to over 25 billion USD in 2016.

Current investment in projects to build cleaner energy power stations is estimated to be worth 180 billion GBP.

Last updated 06 October 2017

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