New research from the Offshore Wind Industry Council (OWIC) has predicted big things for the UK’s offshore wind industry.
The council, which is backed by the government and industry, believes that the private sector will respond to the potential of the industry by investing more than £60bn in constructing and operating offshore wind projects between 2021 and 2026.
This could lead to the creation of as many as 50,000 new jobs which would mainly be sited in northeast of England, Yorkshire and the Humber, East Anglia, and Scotland – areas that have higher levels of unemployment.
The UK is already the world leader in wind power and the industry has the backing of PM Boris Johnson who said in 2020 that the UK would become “the world leader in clean wind energy”.
“Your kettle, your washing machine, your cooker, your heating, your plug-in electric vehicle – the whole lot of them will get their juice cleanly and without guilt from the breezes that blow around these islands,” he said.
The survey – which is by far the most comprehensive yet conducted in the UK was a joint effort involving RenewableUK, the National Skills Academy for Rail, and independent data analysts Opergy Ltd.
“The environmental benefits of our world-leading offshore wind sector are clear to see, but as this study shows we’ll also have tens of thousands more jobs created in the sector in just the next few years alone,” said energy minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan, responding to the report’s findings.
“The UK offshore wind industry employs thousands of people in parts of the country which other sectors fail to reach and which need levelling up the most,” said Danielle Lane, OWIC industry chair and UK country manager for Vattenfall, offering the example of the planned new offshore wind turbine blade manufacturing plant on Teeside, which was announced earlier this month by GE Renewable Energy.
As for whether £60billion is a realistic figure, or the aspirations of a government who is keen on wind power and wants the private sector to seize the opportunity it apparently creates, only time will tell.