Offshore wind sector deal: the industry responds

Benj Sykes, co-chair of the Offshore Wind Industry Council and Ørsted UK country manager for offshore: “…offshore wind is set to take its place at the heart of our low-carbon, affordable and reliable electricity system of the future.

“This relentlessly innovative sector is revitalising parts of the country with transformational, sustainable opportunities,especially coastal communities, from Wick in the north of Scotland to the Isle of Wight, and from Barrow-in-Furness to the Humber. Companies are burgeoning in clusters, creating new centres of excellence in this clean growth boom. The Sector Deal will ensure that even more of these companies win work not only in the UK, but around the world in a global offshore wind market set to be worth £30bn a year by 2030”.

Nick Molho, executive director, Aldersgate Group: “We welcome the release today of the Offshore Wind Sector Deal, especially its commitment to boost the supply chain and ensure job opportunities are spread across the country, and its 2030 ambition to achieve a 40% female workforce. Other pledges, such as introducing an Offshore Energy Passport to facilitate work across offshore sectors and driving a greater focus on jobs and skills for young people, will cement offshore wind at the centre of the UK’s energy system, bringing jobs, investment and export opportunities to regions across the UK.

“The government’s objective to reduce project costs in the 2020s will materialise if there is a sufficiently high and stable volume of projects in the coming decade. This requires building on the government’s commitment to hold auctions every two years and further clarifying the process, volume and exact timings of auctions as soon as possible so that the industry is clear about the opportunity ahead.”

 

John Sauven, executive director, Greenpeace UK: ”The government’s plans for a fleet of new nuclear reactors has collapsed. This leaves Britain with a big energy gap in future. It means the government’s latest offshore wind target of 30GW by 2030 is woefully inadequate. Renewable power now presents the best opportunity for cheaper, cleaner and faster decarbonisation. Wind and solar must be tripled between now and 2030, with offshore wind the future backbone of the UK’s energy system.

“It’s a technology where the UK is already a global leader. And we could turn that leadership into more jobs and opportunities to export British know-how to the rest of the world.”

 

Tom Thackray, energy and infrastructure director, CBI: “The UK is a world leader in clean growth initiatives and technology. The Offshore Wind Sector Deal – a key part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy – reflects the importance of offshore wind as part of the country’s low-carbon power supply, and is great news for the sector’s future.

“We welcome the government’s commitment to provide over £4 million to support British businesses share their expertise globally, and benefit from new markets. The government must redouble its efforts to implement all parts of the Industrial Strategy, in order to boost productivity and prosperity across the UK for the long run. This includes more joined-up thinking and better co-ordination between government departments.”

 

Colin Palmer, head of marine for Crown Estate Scotland: “This Sector Deal provides an opportunity for Scotland to further strengthen and develop its offshore wind supply chain. Combined with our new ScotWind leasing round to be launched later this year, it gives the sector confidence to commit to, invest in, and work with others in Scotland to create jobs and affordable clean energy.”

 

Dr Jenifer Baxter, head of engineering, Institution of Mechanical Engineers: “The Institution welcomes this ambitious sector deal as part of the Industrial Strategy and it is good news for engineering across the UK

“The UK has been very successful in delivering offshore wind and with this sector plan we must ensure that we are able to maximise the power produced by new offshore wind farms. There will need to be equal effort placed on developing energy efficiency programmes to reduce power demand as well as effective storage technologies that will enable power to be dispatched when needed.  Onshore grid systems need to be managed to ensure this low carbon electricity can be accessed across the UK.”

 

 

Nick Shenken, partner in the Clean Energy team, TLT: “The clean energy sector is emerging into its next phase. ..However, the absence of a need for subsidy does not mean that there is a lack of necessity around collaborative working amongst stakeholders, including government. The government must do more to build on existing momentum and ensure the industry reaches its full potential. This doesn’t require reintroduction of subsidies, rather a focus on policies designed to encourage deployment.

“…We lost out in the past in areas such as the manufacture of turbines for onshore wind. We mustn’t let things pass us by again. Policymakers must therefore seize the initiative to ensure the UK fully benefits from this potential.”

 

Sue Ferns, senior deputy general secretary, Prospect: “Offshore wind is an exciting growth industry which has the potential to provide numerous skilled green jobs, and will make up an import part of our energy mix as we move to decarbonise our economy.

“Prospect welcomes that a sector deal has been reached for this important industry. In particular we welcome the commitments to diversity in the workplace, and to creating an Offshore Energy Passport to aid the transfer of skilled workers from one industry to the other.

“It is disappointing however that the government hasn’t recognised the vital role that trade unions will play in the delivery and development of a modern energy industry, especially when it comes to safety. Overall we have a good record of safety in traditional generation – it would be a huge retrograde step if the considerations which have brought that about were forgotten.”

 

Justin Bowden, GMB National Secretary: “to date the so-called ‘green jobs revolution’ has largely been a figment of the imagination of politicians of all parties and those pushing for an over reliance on renewables – with all the risks to our future energy supply and economic competitiveness. The track record so far has been one of work for foreign companies or poorly paid, casualised employment….

“If Claire Perry’s vision is actually to be achieved with decent, well-paid and skilled jobs, then the government will need new rules about renewable energy sources. Companies in receipt of taxpayer subsidy must be required to source the work and jobs in the UK, with a strict condition they cannot be registered in tax havens. The sector will also need to be covered by collective bargaining agreements.”

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