More than just the green option – offshore wind is a £9bn-per-year opportunity for the UK
1st June 2021 | Commercial Energy
The UK’s experience in the oil and gas industry should make capitalising on offshore wind growth a breeze – given investment now and a fair wind from Government.
The UK already leads the world in offshore wind operations and maintenance (O&M), a rapidly growing market that is on course to be worth £1.3bn per year in the UK alone – and almost £9bn globally – by 2030. As the ongoing activity that follows the commissioning of a new project, offshore wind O&M occurs throughout the life of the project – usually around 25 years. Bringing together operations, support, maintenance and research and development, its objective is to ensure the wind farm achieves the best balance between running cost and electricity output.
It’s a huge opportunity – and thanks to the UK’s experience in the North Sea oil and gas industry, we are uniquely positioned to lead the way as offshore wind O&M grows in the coming decades. By leveraging its existing knowledge and expertise, the UK can create internationally significant service businesses in offshore wind O&M, seize both domestic and export opportunities along the way and significantly contribute to the national levelling up agenda.
The Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult and the High Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult stand ready to support businesses as the market grows, building on work from the UK’s extensive research base to accelerate the development and application of the technologies that will cement the UK’s position as the global leader in offshore wind O&M. For example, HVM Catapult centres are developing a new, lighter composite turbine blade that is not only partly recyclable but can generate 9% more energy from the same turbine and costs 30% less to manufacture.
But if progress like this is to continue apace, investment in infrastructure is needed, as a new report published by the ORE Catapult makes clear. In the report, energy industry leader Sir Ian Wood highlights the vital role played by the Offshore Supplies Office (OSO), the now-disbanded UK Government agency that was established in 1973 and whose remit it was to support British suppliers to the offshore oil and gas industry in the British sector of the North Sea.
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