Offshore wind

Harnessing the power of offshore wind will help to power the economy and decarbonise the future production of electricity in the UK.

Offshore-Wind-Floating-Substructures---East-Coast-of-Scotland

Offshore wind is expected to be a major contributor to the UK’s clean energy mix as we move towards our net zero emissions. The UK government has a target to reach 40GW of installed offshore wind capacity by 2030, as part of an effort to reach net zero by 2050.

These targets demonstrate the scale of ambition for growth of the sector.

Opportunity highlights

New build

Large scale new build offshore wind farm projects are being developed across the UK, with a project pipeline to get the UK to the 2030 target.

The UK currently has 14GW of offshore wind farms either fully commissioned or under construction, as of March 2021. Around 10.4GW is operational. There is a further 3.5GW in the pre-construction phase and 9GW with consent authorised. The UK’s latest seabed leasing round (Round 4), operated by the Crown Estate, saw a further 8GW of seabed rights awarded for offshore wind deployment.

An emerging pipeline of floating offshore wind sites are being developed. The UK is home to the world’s first 2 floating offshore windfarms and by 2030 the intention is to scale this twelvefold to 1GW. The Scotwind leasing round is expected to pull through up to 10GW, with 7GW potentially used for floating wind technologies.

This pipeline makes the UK the best location to develop capability in the early stages of deployment for floating offshore wind technologies. 

Component manufacturing

Designing and building the various components required to develop offshore windfarms, such as:

  • turbine components
  • large castings for turbines
  • nacelle assembly
  • blades and associated materials
  • secondary steel fabrication

For floating offshore windfarms, the serial production of moorings, anchors, and dynamics systems are areas that are ready for investment.

Operations and maintenance

Operating and maintaining the UK’s existing windfarm portfolio. This includes opportunities to supply vessels and undertake contracts to service operators.

Offshore transmission

Transporting electricity from offshore generation sites back to the onshore grid. This includes the manufacture of subsea cables, substations, and HVDC components.

Commercial maturity

The UK has one of the most mature offshore wind markets in the world. It owns a quarter of the total global portfolio and generates more electricity from offshore wind than any other country.

However, the UK still needs to significantly increase capacity to meet its net zero targets.

There are investment opportunities across the supply chain that will develop the next generation of offshore wind manufacturing, construction, and installation.

Key UK assets

The UK’s 8 offshore wind clusters are located across the country. Each one is a collaboration between developers and regional supply chain partners, public sector bodies and education providers.

The clusters include:

  • Deep Wind (North Scotland) - advanced manufacturing, fabrication, subsea innovation, and testing and demonstration facilities
  • Forth and Tay Offshore - fabrication, innovation and business incubation, specialist engineering, operations, and maintenance and construction facilities
  • North-east England - fabrication, subsea innovation, decommissioning, specialist engineering, operations and maintenance, testing and demonstration, and maintenance and construction facilities
  • Humber - fabrication, innovation and business incubation, testing and demonstration, construction, subsea innovation, and operations and maintenance facilities
  • East Anglia - fabrication, innovation and business incubation, subsea innovation, decommissioning, specialist engineering, and operations and maintenance facilities
  • Solent - advanced manufacturing, fabrication, and subsea innovation facilities
  • Celtic Sea Cluster - innovation and business incubation, subsea innovation, testing and decommissioning, and operations and maintenance facilities
  • North-West and North Wales - decommissioning, operations and maintenance, and construction facilities

R&D capability

The UK has a longstanding record in supporting collaborative R&D and innovation across the offshore wind sector, which capitalises on the country’s strong academic and engineering base.

Innovation in the sector is driven by the Offshore wind manufacturing investment support scheme and the Floating Offshore Wind Demonstration Programme, part of the governments’ £1 billion Net Zero Innovation Portfolio.

£160 million is also being made available for the modernisation of ports and manufacturing infrastructure across communities in Northern England, Scotland and Wales to significantly increase the UK’s offshore wind capacity.

Business and government support

A number of organisations are supporting the development of this sector.

Offshore Wind Investment Organisation

Works with overseas investors to increase investment in the UK’s offshore wind supply chain. The Offshore Wind Investment Organisation also help companies export from the UK.

Offshore Wind Growth Partnership (OWGP)

A £100 million fund that has been established to increase productivity and improve supply chain competitiveness over the next 10 years. The OWGP has currently allocated £18.3 million in funding.

ORE Catapult

The UK’s leading innovation and research centre for offshore renewable energy.

Scottish Offshore Wind Energy Council

A partnership between the Scottish public sector and offshore wind industry.

Case studies

Manufacturing turbine blades in Teesside

In March 2021, General Electric (GE) announced their investment in a new manufacturing facility in Teesside. It will produce 107-metre offshore wind turbine blades, a key component of GE’s Haliade-X, the most powerful offshore wind turbine currently in operation. GE estimates the plant, set to start production in 2023, could create up to 750 direct renewable energy jobs and up to 1,500 indirect jobs in the area.

As part of the government’s 2030 target, Teesworks has been designated as one of the UK’s newest freeports. The plant, located in this freeport, will help to develop an industrial cluster dedicated to offshore wind in the North East of England.

Offshore Wind Manufacturing Scheme

In February 2021, the UK government launched an ‘Offshore Wind Investment Programme’ to support the delivery of investment in the offshore wind supply chain. By the summer of 2021, the following projects had been awarded grant funding and have announced the opening of new UK facilities:

Siemens Gamesa

A new blade manufacturing facility in Hull, safeguarding 1,000 jobs and creating 200 new ones. The facility will benefit from £186 million to make the next generation of Siemens Gamesa turbines.

Smulders

An investment of £70 million to expand the existing Wallsend portside facility.

SeaH

A new facility in the Humber that will manufacture monopiles for offshore wind projects, with £250 million investment over 3 years, creating 750 jobs.

GRI

Another new facility in the Humber that will produce towers for offshore wind projects. This manufacturing project on a deep water port site will bring significant efficiency and benefits. process.