Two big pledges to British-based manufacturing for offshore wind turbines this week boosted the sector’s skilled jobs. Meanwhile the Treasury and Beis are beefing up the latter’s powers to ensure local and efficient production of components on big projects.
Upgrades to the Contracts for Difference scheme just announced will, says Beis, help wind developers deliver on the industry’s Sector Deal commitment. This requires that 60% of the manufacturing for wind farm projects should be based in the UK and completed by UK workers by 2030.
The government’s main tool to ensure drive regional growth are Supply Chain Plans, which are assessed in a questionnaire before a project can compete in a CfD auction.
Under new measures, energy secretary Kwasi Kwarteng can now terminate a contract as a last resort if generators do not fulfil the Supply Chain Plan commitments they have made.
The move came as investment totalling over £180 million announced this week by two fabricators made or safeguarded over 1,000 jobs around Wallesend and on the Humber, according to minister’s claims.
Commitments by SeAH Wind, offshoot of a South Korean steel pipe maker and by fabricators Smulders Projects were prompted by £160 million in inducements from the government’s Offshore Wind Manufacturing Investment Support scheme.
Premier Johnson announced the sweeteners as part of his Ten Point Plan in November. Builders of major components, from turbine towers and blades to sea cables, benefit.
SeAH will employ its and the government’s money to build a £117 million factory for monopile foundations in the Able Marine Energy Park (right) at Killingholm, part of the new Humber freeport. Up to 750 direct jobs will emerge by 2030. Covering initially 217 hectares, the £500 million park was consented in 2014, and will have over a mile of deep-water frontage.
Smulders Projects UK gets £70 million in grants supporting its construction of turbine transition pieces – thick-walled collars aiding maintainence and cable passage – at their existing site in Wallsend, creating and safeguarding up to 325 direct jobs.
Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said the pledges would put the wind in the sails of the UK’s industrial heartlands. “Wind is one of the UK’s greatest natural assets and we’re a world-leader in offshore wind energy”
The minister went on: “With the largest installed capacity of offshore wind in the world, we are determined to grow and nurture a strong, world-class manufacturing base so British businesses and our workforce can fully seize the economic benefits being a windy island nation brings”.