Offshore wind critical to UK Covid-19 recovery
22nd July 2020 | Commercial Energy
The UK expects the offshore wind sector to play a critical role in the country’s economic recovery post Covid-19, according to BEIS director of clean power strategy and deployment Declan Burke. Burke, who was speaking at RenewableUK’s Virtual Festival dedicated to Global Offshore Wind, said there had been good and open dialogue with industry in recent months as the pandemic created unexpected challenges in construction and operations.
“Now as we transition to economic recovery, I hope that the dialogue will turn to deployment and some of the industrial benefits we can bring to the UK,” he said. However, Burke added, more has to be done to generate the same level of industrial benefit from offshore wind as the sector has in terms of its world-leading position in deployment.
He said Siemens Gamesa’s and MHI Vestas’ factories in the UK are good examples, but “we are going to have to see more of that to create the manufacturing jobs and to make sure we are exporting and using our UK capabilities as much as possible”.
Siemens Gamesa head of business development Ray Thompson said the economic benefits of offshore wind going back to the UK have not been as big as some people may have hoped 10 years ago. But, he said, there are enormous opportunities for the local supply chain. “There are very large holds in the supply chain for offshore wind that aren’t satisfied in the UK,” Thompson said.
These include production of towers, foundations and export cables, he said, adding that there is work ongoing with government trying to make more things happen as part of the Sector Deal. “The scope for the supply chain is pretty much limitless,” Thompson said.
ScottishPower Renewables chief executive Lindsay McQuade said the industry has already shown and will continue to show that it can “respond, be agile, innovative and collaborative effectively” to create the best value to make investments quickly and lever proven frameworks to create prosperity and jobs across the supply chain.
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