United Kingdom

United Kingdom

UK government warned over offshore strategy

UK: The UK government is failing to provide the right economic environment for the country's ambitious hopes for the offshore wind sector, according to a report by a think tank.

Despite the country possessing the world's most ambitious offshore plan in its 33GW Round 3 development programme, uncertainty over government policy has impeded manufacturers from committing to the UK. So far no one has fully committed to developing offshore manufacturing in the UK, while GE and Vestas have both pulled out.

To avert this, the Institute for Public Policy Research says the UK needs to sign up to the EU 2030 targets to ensure more certainty for manufacturers. There should be 20 to 25-year contracts for developers and the country's infrastructure, specifically ports, need to be upgraded to provide construction and assembly facilities.

The report also calls on the government to ensure there is a "socioeconomic value", such as jobs and skills development, to the communities in which offshore facilities operate and show how that value enhances the success of the proposed project. Ministers should actively pursue foreign investment in the UK while keeping within World Trade Organisation rules on local content and EU rules on state aid.

This is not the first report to issue a warning about the UK's offshore plans. In March, the UK Offshore Wind Market Study by GL Garrad Hassan and Redpoint said the UK's 2030 offshore capacity could be as low as 12GW with the bulk of this constructed prior to 2020.

Following interviews with developers, manufacturers, financial institutions and government stakeholders, the report lists a number of barriers to the full-implementation of Round 3. These include concerns about a lack of clarity on government policy and the availability of finance.

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