Humber headlines national report as UK content soars in offshore wind

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 8 Sep 2017

A NEW report released today has revealed a high number of UK companies are involved in the development, construction and operation of offshore wind farms in Britain. 

The study shows that 48 per cent of the expenditure in planning, building and running our offshore projects goes to UK companies, and the vital role the Humber plays is boldly spelled out. 

It means the offshore wind industry has almost hit its long-term target to source 50 per cent of its work in Britain, to be achieved by 2020. 

The previous UK content report, published in 2015, showed that 43 per cent of contracts surveyed had been awarded to British companies – a 5 per cent increase.

This latest report was delivered by RenewableUK on behalf of the Offshore Wind Programme Board, a body of experts which includes The Crown Estate, the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Department of International Trade.

It analysed data supplied by eight major UK offshore wind farms, which reached a final investment decision between 2010 and 2015. The findings show that UK content has grown at every stage of a wind farm’s lifecycle: development, construction and operation. 

British companies did especially well in the development stage with an average of 73 per cent of work being awarded locally. This represents a 16 per cent increase in the previous report’s figure. The development phase includes all the major licensing, planning and surveying work which has to take place before a wind farm can be built. 

This report is another indication of the strength and economic value of the offshore wind industry in the UK, with the Humber playing a key role. 

The UK is now the largest single market for offshore wind in the world and has more installed capacity than any other country. Grimsby alone has surpassed 1GW this summer, with Hull's Siemens blade plant now producing and Greenport providing assembly space for imported nacelles and towers, prior to final load-out to installation.

FIRST LOAD OUT: The first shipment from Greenport Hull to Dudgeon offshore wind farm, in January.

Able Marine Energy Park is also readying itself for the next big investors, with Triton Knoll pledging to use the North Killingholme site if it can meet the timetable. It, and Dong Energy's Hornsea Project Two, are part of the competitive auction that should announce results on Monday. 

The report adds that the sector is investing £11.5 billion in the UK economy over the next four years, which is greater than the amount of spending in the aviation sector. It also surpasses the amount the country is spending on broadband and mobile network infrastructure.

Minister for Energy and Industry, Richard Harrington MP, said: “The offshore wind industry is growing at a rapid pace, with £11.5bn of investment in new UK offshore wind farms due to take place over the next four years.

“This report demonstrates the strength of this growing sector and the positive impact it is having on the UK supply chain. We will continue to support offshore wind developments through our Industrial Strategy, helping to reduce carbon emissions while growing the economy.”

MORE: Grimsby gears up to host national low carbon energy conference

The likes of AMS No-Dig, Dyas Electrical and Rix Group have all embraced what the sector offers, while other UK companies, such as Global Marine Group, James Fisher and Reds have expanded to meet demand.

RenewableUK’s chief executive, Hugh McNeal, said: “This report shows that offshore wind has become a key part of the UK economy, creating much-needed jobs not only in coastal communities like Hull, Grimsby and Great Yarmouth, but also across the country in the ever-expanding supply chain. A huge number of British companies are heavily involved in building the UK’s world-leading offshore wind sector.

“Companies which build offshore wind farm in UK waters are committed to maximising the amount of local content they use, bringing inward investment and to local regeneration.

“The new projects now coming will forward provide a major opportunity for more UK companies to grow and take advantage of offshore wind’s industrial opportunity.” 

Benj Sykes, co-chair of the Offshore Wind Industry Council, said: “As well as producing renewable energy at scale, offshore wind is also delivering significant benefits to the UK economy and this report underlines that British companies are an essential part of building and operating these major infrastructure projects. 

“We’re seeing the supply chain for offshore wind grow from strength to strength, delivering innovative new solutions to help reduce costs and making a positive impact on communities right across the country. Offshore wind also has a central role to play in the Government’s Industrial Strategy, supporting the ambition to boost productivity, deliver low-cost decarbonisation and rebalance the economy.” 

MORE: Read the full report here

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