Wind industry ready to pump 2.5bn GBP direct into UK economy

10bn GBP ‘shovel-ready’ wind projects could lay foundation for green economy

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

BWEA, the UK ’s leading renewable energy business organisation, on April 21, 2009 launched their report on the wind, wave and tidal sector’s contribution towards building a low carbon economy: Powering a Green Economy: Wind, wave & tidal’s contribution to Britain ’s industrial future, just ahead of the Budget Statement by the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

The report sets out the action needed in the Budget to release an immediate £10 billion of private sector investment, £2.5bn of which would be spent direct in the UK on installation and construction work. This would provide an immediate economic stimulus to the UK economy and pave the way for the creation of a £65 billion British wind and marine energy sector by 2020.

Launching the report BWEA Chairman Adam Bruce said: “The UK has a £10bn pipeline of “shovel ready” wind energy projects that are being held up by current economic conditions.

If the Government takes the right action in the Budget tomorrow it can release this private sector investment, which will both provide an immediate boost to the economy and build the supply chain to deliver the next generation of offshore wind – with all the new employment opportunities that will present.”

There are approximately 2GW of offshore schemes (worth an estimated £6 billion) ready to be built and a further 3GW of onshore projects (worth £4 billion) which could be operating within the next 2-3 years. Options for releasing this private sector investment include encouraging funding from sources such as the European Investment Bank for schemes struggling to raise project finance; underwriting the energy floor prices in generator-supplier contracts; socialising offshore grid costs and increasing the offshore ROC multiple.

Today’s report also calls on the Government to take steps necessary to deliver on the long-term industrial opportunities presented by the expansion of offshore wind over the next decade, such as: Strategic support to develop ‘wind industrial hubs’ of research institutes and factories for manufacturing and operations suppliers.

Long term investment in infrastructure such as a new offshore grid network, local ‘smart’ grids and upgraded port facilities.

Action to tackle the skills shortage in the power sector, with the creation of 2,000 new renewables apprenticeships a year.

While only 1% of the existing world wind market is offshore (some 1.5GW of generating capacity), up to 40GW of new sites will be developed in European waters over the next decade. At least half of those sites will be in the UK , creating a tremendous new opportunity for UK based manufacturing, installation and operations jobs.

The BWEA analysis of the industry demonstrates that at least 20GW of UK offshore wind projects are deliverable by 2020. Together with onshore development this would create a £65 billion UK wind sector within a decade. Up to 60,000 UK based jobs could be created in the new sector, if the plant needed to supply the industry is located in Britain.

Adam Bruce said: “There is now a wide consensus over the industrial potential offered by wind and marine renewables. The private sector is willing to invest billions to deliver a low carbon economy, and looks for further partnership with Government to clear both the short and long term obstacles to investment.”

For the full report ‘Powering a Green Economy: Wind, wave & tidal’s contribution to Britain ’s industrial future’ go to

The British Wind Energy Association is the trade and professional body for the UK wind and marine renewables industries. Formed in 1978, and with 468 corporate members, BWEA is the leading renewable energy trade association in the UK . Wind has been the world's fastest growing renewable energy source for the last seven years, and this trend is expected to continue with falling costs of wind energy and the urgent international need to tackle CO2 emissions.

We can, I am sure of that, expect a lot of waffle from the Budget and the government, again, per se, but we can bet that very little is going to happen. The darling of the energy industry for the UK is and remains oil, gas, and nuclear, so it would seem.

© 2009