Delayed UK offshore wind sector deal ‘due this month’
A long-awaited ‘sector deal’ between the UK offshore wind industry and government –central to ambitious plans to reach a 30GW installed base by 2030 – is set to be finally unveiled later this month, Recharge understands.
Sources said the industry has “penciled in the last week of February” for the joint announcement, although it is still possible that Brexit uncertainty may delay it further into next month.
The sector believes the deal could deliver at least a third of the country’s electricity from offshore wind by 2030, attracting £48bn ($61.6bn) in investment in UK infrastructure and directly employing 27,000 people.
Figures published at end of last month by the UK’s Office for National Statistics show that 12,200 were employed by the country’s offshore wind industry in 2017.
Industry lobbying group RenewableUK declined to comment directly on the exact timing of an announcement.
“We’re hoping that the offshore wind sector deal will be concluded within the first quarter of this year. The joint industry-government body, the Offshore Wind Industry Council (OWIC) is working hard on this,” said Emma Pinchbeck, RenewableUK executive director.
The sector deal was originally expected to be sealed as long ago as autumn 2018, but has taken longer than expected to conclude.
The UK government has already sealed similar arrangements with sectors including life sciences and automotive.
The offshore wind deal is seen as one of the most significant, given the UK’s world-leading commitment to turbines at sea and its huge potential export opportunities.
“The domestic and export market for offshore wind products and services provided by UK-based firms is expected to be worth £4.9bn a year by 2030,” said Pinchbeck.
The offshore wind deal comes hot on the heels of a body blow for the wider industry last week when energy secretary Greg Clark, under pressure from right-wing Conservative MPs, refused to allow onshore wind back in the renewable auctions process.