The Offshore Wind Industrial Sector Strategy reportedly has the potential to create 30,000 jobs and bring GBP7bn to the economy by 2020. Exports will also contribute to the expected economic benefits. Supply chain manufacturing will also be improved, so that more of the work and jobs can be done in the UK, where there is said to be currently more offshore wind power than the rest of the world combined.
Under the strategy, the Government will invest GBP20m from the Regional Growth Fund for GROW: Offshore Wind, a new Manufacturing Advisory Service programme to support the UK supply chain to become more competitive by offering tailored support from specialists, while GBP46m will be spent on linking innovation between industry, Government and academia to help companies introduce new products to market.
A new Offshore Wind Investment Organisation will be established by UKTI, to attract inward investment to the UK, along with initiatives from the industry for the sharing of information with the supply chain regarding procurement timelines and contracting decision points.
The strategy also proposes that offshore wind farm developers above a certain size should produce a supply chain plan before they can apply for a Contract for Difference, which are long-term contracts to provide stable revenues for investors in low carbon energy projects, thereby specifying how the project and procurement approaches will promote a variety of supply chain and support innovation and skills.
Also, the scope of the DECC offshore wind manufacturing funding scheme will be expanded to help the development of port and coastal infrastructure in assisted areas of England, these grants will be conditional on sites securing manufacturing investment.