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Report urges Government to prepare infrastructure for expansion of offshore wind industry

On the day when the Chancellor used his budget to largely overlook renewable energy in favour of nuclear power and carbon capture, a report by the Floating Wind Offshore Wind Taskforce suggested that the government should be spend £4bn transforming ports  into ‘new industrial hubs’ to make the UK  a global leader in offshore wind technology.

The report recommends that 11 ports should be upgraded, beginning with between three and five in Scotland and two which will service the Celtic Sea in South Wales

three white wind turbine on sea

The government’s current target is 5 gigawatt (GW) of offshore wind power by 2030 but the report suggests that their recommendations could see this figure reach 34GW by 2040.

Improvements to the chosen ports would be needed to enable the enormous turbines  and their floating bases to be manufactured and assembled in coastal locations. Scottish and Celtic Sea sites would be prioritised because offshore projects are already confirmed in these areas. 

As we reported when discussing the Erebus project in the Celtic Sea, deep water windfarms are lucrative because almost 80% of the world’s wind resource is in water deeper than 60m.

The report calculates that every £1 invested in UK port facilities would generate up to £4.30 of added value to the economy. Suggesting that by 2040, the floating offshore wind industry will support 45,000 jobs across the UK.

RenewableUK’s Emerging Technologies Policy Analyst Laurie Heywort said: ‘Getting onto the front foot to make the most of our enormous floating wind resource is essential. At the moment there are no port facilities in this country which are fit for the mass deployment of floating wind, so we need to start revitalising them now as new industrial hubs.’

Nicola Clay, Head of New Ventures at The Crown Estate said: ‘There is a huge opportunity for the UK to show international leadership in in the race to deploy this new technology at scale, however it is clear from our own dialogue with developers and ports that this must go hand in hand with the rapid establishment of a new supply chain and upgrading ports. This will require collaboration, confidence and investment by all involved if the UK is to build the foundations for this industry to truly thrive and realise the full range of benefits on offer.’

 

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