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Offshore wind energy to provide a third of all UK electricity by 2030

An offshore wind farm in Redcar on Teesside.

Clean, green offshore wind is set to power more than 30% of British electricity by 2030, energy and clean growth minister Claire Perry announced today (7 March 2018) with the launch of the new joint government-industry offshore wind sector deal.

This deal will mean for the first time in UK history there will be more electricity from renewables than fossil fuels, with 70% of British electricity predicted to be from low carbon sources by 2030 and over £40bn of infrastructure investment in the UK.

This is the tenth sector deal from the modern industrial strategy signed by Business Secretary Greg Clark. It is backed by UK renewables companies and marks a revolution in the offshore wind industry and could see the number of jobs triple to 27,000 by 2030.

The deal will also increase the sector target for the amount of UK content in homegrown offshore wind projects to 60%, spearhead a new £250m Offshore Wind Growth Partnership to make sure UK companies continue to be competitive, boost global exports fivefold to £2.6bn per year by 2030 through partnership between the Department of Trade and industry to support smaller supply chain companies, reduce the cost of projects in the 2020s and overall system costs and provide over £4m for British business to share expertise globally and open new markets for UK industry through a technical assistance programme.

Claire Perry, energy and clean growth minister said: “This new sector deal will drive a surge in the clean, green offshore wind revolution that is powering homes and businesses across the UK, bringing investment into coastal communities and ensuring we maintain our position as global leaders in this growing sector.

“By 2030 a third of our electricity will come from offshore wind, generating thousands of high-quality jobs across the UK, a strong UK supply chain and a fivefold increase in exports. This is our modern industrial strategy in action.”

The co-chair of the Offshore Wind Industry Council and Ørsted UK country manager for offshore, Benj Sykes, said: “Now that we’ve sealed this transformative deal with our partners in government, as a key part of the UK’s industrial strategy, 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 which have never seen opportunities like this for years, especially coastal communities from Wick in the northern 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 on here, but around the world in a global offshore wind market set to be worth £30bn a year by 2030.”

The cost of new offshore wind contracts has already outstripped projections and fallen by over 50% over the last two years. The government says that this further investment will boost this trajectory, with offshore wind projects expected to be cheaper to build than fossil fuel plants by 2020. The deal will also see UK continuing as the largest European market for offshore wind, with 30GW of clean wind power being built by 2030, with the UK making up a fifth of global wind capacity.

The National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) welcomed the announcement of the new deal. An NIC spokesperson said: “Today’s offshore wind sector deal is a clear demonstration of the numbers of jobs that this industry could create, especially as it continues to grow both here and internationally. Our National Infrastructure Assessment recommends that ministers aim for half of the UK’s electricity generation to come from renewables by 2030. Today’s deal emphasises how a move towards that could not just benefit our environment, but also our economy and form a key part of the government’s industrial strategy.”