United Kingdom – With the appointment of a new government champion and the opening of a multimillion-pound manufacturing fund for expressions of interest, plans to expand offshore wind to power homes and businesses across the United Kingdom have received a boost.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng both confirmed Tim Pick’s appointment as the first UK Offshore Wind Champion.
The Floating Offshore Wind Manufacturing Investment Scheme (FLOWMIS) will provide £160 million in government funding to support manufacturers and give private investors confidence to back this emerging sector, which is expected to rapidly expand in the years ahead.
Tim Pick will chair the Offshore Wind Acceleration Taskforce, which will spearhead efforts to accelerate new offshore wind projects across the UK (OWAT). This Taskforce will bring together companies from across the offshore wind sector to coordinate their efforts and accelerate offshore wind power development in the UK.
The appointment comes as the government seeks information from industry on the best way to invest the £160 million in support for floating offshore wind announced by Prime Minister David Cameron in October 2021. Hywind Scotland and Kincardine are two operational floating offshore wind projects off the coast of Scotland in the developing UK floating offshore wind sector. The £160 million will be used to expand deepwater port infrastructure and encourage private investment in new factories that will mass produce major components for floating offshore wind projects off the coast of Wales.
The ScotWind leasing round has announced 15GW of floating offshore wind in Scottish waters, with another 4GW to be leased off the Welsh coast in the Celtic Sea, which could require over a thousand floating wind foundations. This will provide the UK with a significant opportunity to develop a world-leading sector capable of lowering technology costs and delivering large-scale floating offshore wind.
The government will benefit from the Request for Information by better understanding the opportunities available in the UK. In the British Energy Security Strategy, the government stated its goal of delivering up to 50GW of offshore wind by 2030, including up to 5GW of innovative floating wind, which is generated by turbines on floating platforms in deeper seawaters, many off the coasts of Scotland and Wales, where it will build on these countries’ strong industrial and maritime heritage.
This expansion to 50GW will attract even more vital investment to UK coastal communities, adding to the 60,000 direct and indirect jobs that the offshore wind sector is expected to support by 2030, and leveling Scotland, Wales, and the rest of the country. It will assist in reducing the UK’s reliance on costly, imported fossil fuels by developing clean, affordable energy produced in the UK for the UK’s citizens.