The global expenditure on offshore wind in the UK is expected to reach GBP 108 billion between 2018 and 2022, and Kent-based companies are ideally placed to capture a significant share in the opportunities, according to Kent County Council.
The UK has the most economically attractive offshore wind resources in Europe and could expand its offshore wind capacity to almost five times its current level by 2030, a recent report by Aurora Energy Research suggests.
There are eight UK wind farms in operation or in development relatively close to the Kent coast, including the world’s largest operating wind farm, the 630MW London Array in the Thames Estuary.
However, Kent’s advantages go well beyond its geographical proximity to offshore wind developments, the Council said, adding that the city is home to a number of businesses that can provide the products, services and skills essential for wind farm development and operation.
“Offshore wind represents a huge potential market for Kent business,” said Mark Dance, Cabinet Member for Economic Development of Kent County Council.
“As well as a large and growing domestic market, the global growth of offshore wind opens up great export opportunities for those able to demonstrate the ability to service the offshore wind market.”
The nature of the offshore wind supply chain means that there are vast opportunities for smaller companies, but many struggle with understanding the market and engaging with potential clients, the Council said, emphasizing that it thus developed a range of tools to help understand the concept.
As part of the Inn2POWER consortium, Kent County Council established the Kent Wind Energy portal, an online directory and information resource that supports local supply chain development and puts offshore wind owners in touch with local businesses.
The directory allows buyers to search for services across the offshore wind supply chain, including project development, equipment design and manufacture, construction and operation, as well as more general support such as accommodation, recruitment and office supplies.