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Over £900m of investment in UK offshore wind manufacturing
New analysis published by RenewableUK shows that major investment announcements totalling more than £900m in new factories have been made so far this year in the UK’s offshore wind manufacturing sector – the highest annual amount since the industry began in the UK in 2000.
Last week, JDR Cables unveiled plans to build a new factory in Cambois near Blyth, Northumberland, creating 170 jobs. The £130m investment will also safeguard 270 jobs at the cable manufacturer’s existing plant in Hartlepool.
In March, GE revealed multi-million pound plans to transform a former steelworks site on Teesside into a high-tech plant producing turbine blades, creating 750 direct jobs. It secured official planning approval for the new factory in September.
July saw two other major announcements with South Korean firm SeAH Wind investing £260m over three years in an offshore wind turbine monopile foundation factory at the Able Marine Energy Park on the south bank of the Humber, creating 750 direct jobs. Smulders Projects UK is also set to invest £70m in manufacturing giant offshore wind turbine transition pieces at its site at Wallsend in Newcastle upon Tyne, safeguarding up to 325 direct jobs.
Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy said in August that it will be investing £186m in doubling the size of its offshore wind turbine blade factory in Hull, creating 200 direct jobs. Also in August, GRI Renewable Industries unveiled plans to invest £78m in an offshore wind turbine tower factory on the south bank of the Humber, creating 260 jobs.
As part of the offshore wind industry’s commitment to increase UK content to 60% by 2030, grants and business support worth £4.5m have been awarded so far this year to 76 supply chain companies by the Offshore Wind Growth Partnership, a £100m fund set up by the industry and delivered by the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult to expand existing companies and attract new entrants into the sector.
The government’s Offshore Wind Manufacturing Investment Support scheme has also played a part, offering grants to companies making strategically important components such as blades, towers and cables.
Dan McGrail, chief executive of RenewableUK, said “This record year of over £900 million of investment in major British offshore wind manufacturing plants shows that the 2020s is the decade of delivery for the UK’s offshore wind sector. The offshore wind industry is making good on its commitments to create tens of thousands of jobs and attract billions in investment in state-of-the-art factories around the country. 26,000 people already work in this sector and that’s set to increase to 69,000 over the next five years.
“The government is playing an important role in securing supply chain investment by providing strategic funding support to deliver the green economic recovery this country needs. This new funding to develop world-class offshore wind hubs in ports like Teesside and the Humber is a clear example of levelling-up in action.”