RenewableUK & The Crown Estate have published a report highlighting a “once in a generation” chance to attract major companies to the UK to build factories to supply the fast-growing offshore wind energy sector.
The Energy Minister Michael Fallon described offshore wind as “a British success story” and said “This report sets out the enormous potential of this dynamic industry, which makes a crucial contribution to our clean energy mix“.
The study, 'Building an Industry', quantifies how many wind turbine factories and other manufacturing facilities (blades, cables and foundations) will be needed to fulfill the increase in demand up to 2020, not just from projects in UK waters, but to supply the rest of the European offshore wind energy sector as well. It also specifies what the UK industry alone will need between now and 2030.
The Government’s Renewable Energy Roadmap envisages the potential for 18 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind installed by 2020 – a significant increase from the 3.3GW installed so far. The rest of Europe combined is expected to match this with another 18GW, to reach a total of 36GW by the end of the decade. To install this, the report shows that Europe will need 64 major manufacturing facilities. Just over a third of these are already operational, and plans for a further third have been announced. Fewer than a quarter of these operational and planned facilities are in the UK – even though the UK is planning to build half Europe’s offshore wind farm capacity between now and 2020.
The report also states that by 2030, the UK offshore wind sector will need as many as 7 turbine tower factories, 7 blade factories, 7 nacelle factories, 6 factories to build foundations, 6 factories to build offshore substations and 6 cable factories. The sector will also require more than 20 huge seagoing vessels to install offshore turbines, and a further 230 vessels to carry workers to and from the turbines once they are operational.
The report is launched at RenewableUK’s annual Offshore Wind conference, which takes place in Manchester on Weds 12th and Thurs 13th June, 2013.