Analysis published last week by RenewableUK
shows that major investment announcements totalling over £900 million 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.
JDR Cables unveiled plans last week to build a new factory in Cambois near Blyth in Northumberland, creating 170 jobs, as part of an investment of £130 million which will also safeguard 270 jobs at the cable manufacturer’s existing plant in Hartlepool.
It is the latest in a series of major UK offshore wind manufacturing announcements this year. 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.
Meanwhile, July saw two other major announcements. South Korean company SeAH Wind is investing £260 million 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 will invest £70 million 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 £186 million 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 investing £78 million 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 £4.5 million have been awarded so far this year to 76 supply chain companies by the Offshore Wind Growth Partnership, a £100 million 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 is playing its part with an Offshore Wind Manufacturing Investment Support scheme which offers grants to companies making strategically important components such as blades, towers and cables.
RenewableUK’s CEO Dan McGrail 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 is 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.”