Three ways the UK offshore wind supply chain boosts the economy

Published 6 December 2022

By Andrew Macdonald, Director of Offshore Wind Development and Operations

The UK continues to drive investment and growth in its thriving offshore wind sector through ambitious targets and the deployment of innovative technologies. In doing so, companies in the sector are creating high-quality jobs, boosting the economy, and demonstrating strong commitment to a low-carbon future that is environmentally positive and financially sustainable.

Delivering the UK Government target of 50GW offshore wind generation by 2030 requires investment in the supply chain to meet the demands for increased capacity and capability.  This investment will in turn produce wider benefits for the UK.

More jobs

Manufacturing facilities exist across the UK providing a range of offshore products such as blades, cables, wind turbine components, and installation and service vessels. From turbine supply and installation to foundation manufacture, and operation and maintenance (O&M), thousands of jobs are created through the existence of offshore wind.

An estimated 90,000 jobs will be created in UK offshore wind by 2030, so the workforce must be trained and appointed to do the work across the supply chain. Local outreach to schools and other education centres and provision of apprenticeships will help promote long-term education and skills training, that will support the sector, and the UK economy.

Export opportunities

Investment in the UK supply chain increases export opportunities for the industry. At present, Europe leads the way in installed offshore wind capacity, with its market estimated to be worth around £9.2 billion per year by 2030. However, there are large opportunities for growth throughout Asia, as well as North America and Africa.

By building on existing UK capabilities in areas such as blade manufacture, cable supply, operations, and maintenance (O&M) and transitioning knowledge from other sectors such as subsea technology and marine operations, the UK can create export opportunities in other markets.

Growth in operations and maintenance

The UK offshore wind operations and maintenance (O&M) market is set to grow rapidly over the next decade. It represents a significant opportunity for UK companies and will continue to grow along with increased deployment. By 2030, it’s expected that offshore wind O&M will be worth £1.3 billion per year to the UK economy. Improved O&M also has a role to play in ensuring that wind farms can continue to generate clean electricity for years for as long as possible.

Could the UK become the global leader in the offshore wind supply chain?

Manufacturing major parts of next generation of offshore wind turbines and delivering world-leading O&M services will increase the UK’s competitive standing on the global stage. There’s enormous potential for the UK to build on its first mover advantage in offshore wind, evidenced by the impressive growth we have already seen. As the UK continues to pave the way for the offshore wind supply chain industry, we can expect to reap continued economic benefits, as well as stay on track for net zero by 2050.

Discover how ORE Catapult supports offshore wind supply chain growth here