UK Offshore Wind Sector Expected to Employ Almost 100,000 People by 2030

Jobs in the rapidly expanding offshore wind industry in the UK could grow to almost 100,000 by 2030, with the private sector expected to invest GBP 155 billion (approx. EUR 180 billion) in new offshore wind projects over the next eight years, according to a new report published by the Offshore Wind Industry Council (OWIC).

Image source: Vineyard Wind

The study estimated that by 2030, the industry will employ over 97,000 people in the UK, of which 61,000 are direct jobs.

When it comes to investments by offshore wind farm owners and developers, the report expects the average annual investment to be over GBP 17 billion (approx. EUR 20 billion) which is higher than the average annual spend of over GBP 10 billion (approx. EUR 11 billion) reported last year.

The increase in private investment is said to reflect the expansion of the UK’s total pipeline of offshore wind projects at all stages of development over the past twelve months, which now stands at 86 GW.

This 60 per cent increase is mainly because of major leasing round announcements made by The Crown Estate with 8 GW and Crown Estate Scotland with 25 GW of ScotWind, said OWIC in its latest report.

OWIC said that another significant factor for the increase is the move to annual auctions for Contracts for Difference (CfD), which were previously held every two years, to speed up the country’s transition to renewable power.

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31,000 People Working in UK Offshore Wind

The report shows that the sector currently supports over 31,000 jobs, which is a 16 per cent increase from the 26,000 jobs reported in last year’s survey.

Of these, 19,600 are direct jobs solely in the offshore wind while 11,500 are indirect positions in supply chain companies that manufacture products for the industry as well as for other sectors.

Currently, 30 per cent of the jobs are located in Scotland while the English region that is benefiting the most is Yorkshire and the Humber, where 15 per cent of the jobs are located, said OWIC.

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“This report shows that we’re making rapid progress in seizing the economic benefits of the Green Industrial Revolution, and that we’ll need to continue to grow fast to ensure that we meet the Government’s target of 50 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030 – a fivefold increase in our current capacity”, said Melanie Onn, RenewableUK’s deputy chief executive who leads OWIC’s People & Skills workstream.

“That’s why it’s important for industry and Government to work together to address skills shortages in areas like electrical engineering and data analysis, so we can boost the number of high-quality green jobs in offshore wind throughout this decade”.

The study showed that the percentage of women working in the offshore wind has increased slightly from 18 per cent reported a year ago to 19.25 per cent.

To reach the country’s target of women working in the offshore wind sector, which is 33 per cent by 2030, OWIC and the University of East Anglia announced last month a new joint research project called “Clearing the Pathway for Women in Wind”.

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According to OWIC, the latest report also highlights the need to address the risk of recruitment gaps by introducing measures to increase the number of people with high-level electrical and digital skills entering this innovative sector, to meet current and future demand.

In order to increase the number of skilled workforce in the offshore wind industry and to make it easier for offshore workers in the oil and gas industry in the UK to transfer to offshore wind, hydrogen, and other energy industries and to build cross-industry careers, the UK also plans to launch a cross-industry digital passport.

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