The British Ports Association has welcomed the Government’s new Sector Deal for Offshore Wind which will offer significant new opportunities for coastal regions and ports. The Sector Deal is part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy and contains ambitious plans for 30% of UK electricity to be generated by from offshore wind by 2030. This will see a huge growth in offshore developments, much of which will be facilitated by UK ports.
The Sector Deal will ensure that over the next decade there will be a large expansion of offshore wind around the British coast and this could see offshore wind contributing up to 30GW of generating capacity. This could account for over £40bn of infrastructure spending in the next decade, much of which will be in the UK. It will create jobs for coastal regions all across the UK.
Welcoming the announcement the British Ports Association’s Chief Executive Richard Ballantyne said: “The offshore wind Sector Deal is great news for ports and coastal communities. This will provide jobs in areas all round the coast as ports provide a critical role in enabling offshore developments. In 2017 wind generated just 6.2% of the UK power needs and we welcome the ambitious new target of 30% by 2030. In particular we are pleased to see the long term commitment to increase UK content to 60%. This target will require an increased domestic role for developers and projects meaning that British ports will play a significant role in new projects.”
UK ports are well placed to support the offshore wind industry but we will need a versatile and flexible planning system to help ports prepare. This will be vital that to ensure that ports remain agile and responsive to the new opportunities to provide important landside hubs for offshore developments.
The Deal highlights sector estimates that offshore wind could support 27,000 jobs across the UK by 2030, covering all aspects of a wind farm; project management, construction and operations and maintenance. With the industry committed to sourcing 60 per cent of total lifetime content from UK sources and increasing UK content in the capital expenditure phase, there will also be a need for highly skilled workers in manufacturing areas throughout the supply chain.
The Government suggests that delivering change on this scale requires cooperation and coordination between industry, government and educational institutions, specifically at a regional level. Communities benefiting from this expansion will have the knowledge and resources to deliver new, skilled recruits of the future, capable of exporting these skills and experience to global markets.