The anchor was raised today on £60m of Government funding to establish world-class offshore wind manufacturing at ports sites.
This came as the Department of Energy and Climate Change and The Crown Estate signed a Letter of Intent to support development of ports infrastructure for offshore wind, and three major wind turbine manufacturers announced that they plan to invest in offshore wind manufacturing in the UK.
Making the announcement today in a speech to the Confederation of British Industry on publication of the National Infrastructure Plan, the Prime Minister said:
“We need thousands of offshore turbines in the next decade and beyond yet neither the factories nor these large port sites currently exist. And that, understandably, is putting off private investors. So we’re stepping in.
“To help secure private sector investment in this technology, we’re providing up to £60 million to meet the needs of offshore wind infrastructure at our ports. And to help move things forward, the Crown Estate will also work with interested ports and manufacturers to realise the potential of their sites.
“It’s a triple win. It will help secure our energy supplies, protect our planet and the Carbon Trust says it could create 70,000 jobs.”
Chris Huhne, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, said:
“There is more to do if we want to stay leaders in offshore wind. We want the jobs, manufacturing and skills base for this exciting new industry to be here in the UK, and we are taking decisions that attract investment.
“We need world-class infrastructure to support our economic growth. So today we have made sure that even in the face of such pressure on public finances, we prioritise the areas that will help us dump the deficit.”
The £60m will support offshore wind manufacturing infrastructure at port sites, to meet the needs of offshore wind manufacturers looking to locate new facilities in assisted areas in England. Through devolved settlements separate funding has been made available to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland which could support potential projects in the devolved administrations. Applications will be welcome from manufacturers, or joint applications from manufacturers and ports.
The funding will be delivered using the Grant for Business Investment scheme. This will enable support to be made available more quickly than would have been possible using the offshore wind infrastructure competition proposed previously.
Siemens, GE and Gamesa have also outlined proposals to open manufacturing plants at coastal locations in the UK, with Gamesa also announcing that they will be opening an R&D facility and their global HQ in London.
Together, the investments by these companies could be worth over £300 million pounds, and potentially create thousands of jobs both at the companies and through their supply chains.
The investments will also help deliver the offshore wind capacity the UK will need to meet its renewable energy targets.
Business Secretary Vince Cable said:
“It is very positive news that three major players in the offshore wind industry, GE, Siemens and Gamesa, have plans to come to the UK and invest in manufacturing. The government’s approach to growth and investment is the right one. Renewable technology is a priority for this government, and I am delighted that foreign investors also recognise our commitment to environmentally sustainable growth.
“The global market for low carbon goods and services is expected to rise to over £4 trillion by the middle of the next decade. We are already the sixth largest market for low carbon economic goods and services so we are well placed in this sector.”
In a further boost to the sector, DECC and The Crown Estate today signed a Letter of Intent to support development of ports infrastructure for offshore wind. This states that The Crown Estate will work with interested ports and manufacturers to use the Crown Estate’s knowledge and expertise to enable them to realise the potential in their sites.
Roger Bright CB, Chief Executive of The Crown Estate, said:
“Today’s announcement is another significant step in ensuring that the UK can meet its growing offshore wind supply chain requirements. I’m keen that The Crown Estate, working together with Government, helps in the creation of the maximum number of UK jobs from the offshore wind supply chain. With our four rounds of offshore wind energy programmes aiming to deliver over a quarter of the UK energy needs by 2020, a significant supply chain industry is required. Through our strategic role we are actively working with Government to help ensure the realisation of offshore renewable energy and the associated opportunities for the UK economy.”
“The Crown Estate has established strong working relationships with the relevant stakeholders, and has the required skills to assist in unlocking the challenges to be met in the offshore wind supply chain.”
The Crown Estate will also continue to co-ordinate discussions with offshore energy developers, along with other marine energy stakeholders, to help to identify where upgrades to port facilities are needed, and to understand how these can be managed and delivered.