The UK government should announce clear targets for offshore wind and commit to an extended pipeline of bi-annual Contracts for Difference (CfD) auctions of more than 2GW of capacity a year, a new report commissioned by the Offshore Wind Industry Council (OWIC) suggests.
“The UK Offshore Wind Industry: Supply Chain Review”, by the former McLaren Group CEO and Formula One Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh, also states that offshore wind developers should publish clear lifecycle plans to show supply chain companies what they need, and when they will need it.
“In view of the very ambitious scale and cost targets now being set for the offshore wind sector, UK business needs to step up and provide a competitive offering and complement the existing supply chain. Furthermore, UK companies need to be encouraged to offer innovative and cost-effective services and technology to the sector. If this can be achieved, UK businesses and the overall economy can greatly benefit from the substantial offshore wind export opportunities that are now opening throughout the world,'' the report said.
The report also recognises the urgent threat posed by climate change and urges the UK government to set more ambitious targets to accelerate the transition from fossil fuels to renewables, whilst encouraging more consumers to buy electricity generated from low carbon sources.
The OWIC is working with the government on a Sector Deal which aims to deliver at least a third of the country’s electricity from offshore wind by 2030, attracting a further GBP 48 billion investment in UK infrastructure. By this time the offshore wind industry will employ 27,000 people. The domestic and export market for offshore wind products and services provided by UK-based firms is expected to be worth nearly GBP 5bn a year by 2030.
In order to compile the independent review, Whitmarsh worked over the course of a year with Clark MacFarlane, Managing Director of Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy UK, and was assisted by industry experts from innogy, MHI Vestas Offshore Wind, the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult and ScottishPower Renewables. The team also organised a series of roadshow events to engage with a wide range of both existing and potential supply chain companies around the UK.
''This review makes clear that an ambitious, long-term strategy is vital to bring forward new investment in our supply chains and secure export growth,'' the Co-Chair of the Offshore Wind Industry Council, Benj Sykes, said.
“We fully expect to have the Sector Deal agreed with Government in the coming weeks, and look forward to responding to Martin’s recommendations later in the year as implementation of the Deal gets underway.”