The UK government and business have announced a long-term strategy intended to strengthen the UK’s position in the offshore wind industry. The multi-million pound investment has the potential to unlock £7 billion in the economy by 2020.
Investments by the Government will include £20 million from the Regional Growth Fund to improve the UK wind industry’s supply chain, and £46 million to ‘join up’ innovation among industry, government and academia and help companies bring new products to market.
The UK currently has more offshore wind power than the rest of the world combined. The new strategy aims to expand the UK’s indigenous own supply chain manufacturing activities.
The industry has the potential to create 30 000 jobs and contribute £7 billion to the economy by 2020. Exports have the potential to add even more to these economic benefits.
Key announcements include:
– £20 million from the Regional Growth Fund for GROW: Offshore Wind, a new Manufacturing Advisory Service programme to support the UK supply chain to become more competitive by offering tailored support from specialists
– £46 million funding over five years for the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult Centre to join up innovation between industry, government and academia and help companies to bring new products to market
– A new Offshore Wind Investment Organisation, established by UKTI, to attract inward investment to the UK
– Industry-led initiatives to share information with the supply chain about their procurement timelines and contracting decision points
– A proposal that would require developers of offshore wind farms above a certain size to produce a supply chain plan before they can apply for a Contract for Difference – long-term contracts to provide stable revenues for investors in low carbon energy projects – setting out how the project and procurement approaches will encourage a wider, more diverse supply chain and support innovation and skills
– Expansion of the scope of the DECC offshore wind manufacturing funding scheme to support port and coastal infrastructure development in assisted areas of England. Any grants offered will be conditional on sites securing manufacturing investment
– The Green Investment Bank has an ambition to invest a significant proportion of its £3.8 billion capital in offshore wind, co-investing in projects with commercial parties.

Stephen Wyatt, the Carbon Trust’s director of Innovation, commented:
"While the UK has become a world leader in the deployment of offshore wind energy we have not yet maximised the economic opportunity of this leadership position. UK content of our offshore wind farms can and should be significantly increased. The recognition that more can be done is welcome as is the provision of targeted funding to ensure that the UK’s unique carbon free resource delivers long term jobs and much needed inward investment as well as secure home blown power for the nation."