East Anglia: OrbisEnergy plays key role in offshore wind report
A LEADING renewable energy organisation in East Anglia has played a key role in a new report which highlights the need for improvements in the supply chain if the UK is to make the most of the sector’s potential for jobs and wealth creation.
The report, published yesterday, follows a summit meeting for the offshore wind power industry convened by Lowestoft-based OrbisEnergy, the regional technology, innovation and incubation hub for offshore renewables, in partnership with the Royal Academy of Engineering.
At the round-table meeting, held in March and chaired by the academy’s president, Lord Browne of Madingley, the former chief executive of BP, industry representatives discussed the need for Government support in the areas of infrastructure, skills, investment and health and safety.
According to the resulting report, Making green growth real: UK offshore wind supply chain, the UK faces a huge challenge in developing offshore wind over the coming decade, with the Government’s National Renewable Energy Action Plan requiring a tenfold increase in capacity between now and 2020.
It says the establishment of a viable supply chain is vital and urges the Government to develop a UK-wide strategy focusing on a select number of ports spread around the coast, to increase the pool of skilled workers available to the energy industries and to ensure that the health and safety regime is appropriate to the industry’s risks.
It also calls on Ministers to honour the timetable for reform of the electricity market and to kick-start investment with targeted financial support during the construction phase.
Lord Browne said yesterday: “The Government supported the oil and gas supply chain in its early days, with generous tax incentives, training programmes, strategic infrastructure and supportive regulation. The result today is a world-leading industry, creating jobs in manufacturing and engineering across the UK.
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“The UK oil and gas supply chain generates �16billion each year, including �5bn in exports, and employs more than 300,000 people in the UK. That is a valuable economic legacy, which was accelerated by early government support, and which can now be repeated for offshore wind.”
Waveney MP Peter Aldous added: “We know that offshore wind is a key growth sector for the economy and we are committed to ensuring companies in the UK benefit from this huge opportunity.
“Not only can offshore wind generate significant amounts of electricity, it can support a new generation of engineering skills creating long term jobs which will be key to sustainable growth.”