Offshore wind and how talent businesses can support the demand

Written by Mike Matthewman

Offshore wind can provide a cost effective and low carbon route to providing at least 50% of the future electricity demands of the UK.

The offshore wind sector has matured rapidly over the past few years in the waters around the UK and it is now capable of providing a reliable supply with proven technology. If Government can provide a long-term strategy and commitment to the sector, it is reasonable to expect private investment to continue to fund the growth of the UK offshore electricity generation capacity, with projects becoming subsidy-free in the 2020s.

The development of UK offshore wind capacity has been largely achieved by harnessing the knowledge and expertise developed in countries like Denmark, Norway and Germany. Pioneering foreign companies have pushed the technology to UK waters, growing the UK’s installed capacity, whilst significantly increasing efficiency and bringing down costs.

Furthermore, approximately 11,000 long-term skilled UK jobs have been created by this partnership with these expert businesses. However, the UK offshore wind industry needs to seize the huge export opportunity which will inevitably follow.

Efforts to support and create traditional manufacturing employment will probably not generate export opportunity. It is important, therefore, that the sector and other UK companies are encouraged to innovate and create valuable intellectual property, which can create enduring economic benefit and export opportunity.

We live on a densely populated island, with windy shallow seas around us. Consequently, the opportunity to lead the world in offshore wind energy is obvious and exciting. The UK already has the world’s largest deployment of offshore wind energy and it is established as the lowest-cost route to large scale low carbon electricity generation. If the UK is to meet its carbon emission reduction targets and provide the energy to drive our economy and society forward, we must continue and accelerate the incredible technical and operational achievements.

To achieve the growth required, we must convince many more UK businesses to commit to the sector and build the supply base required to support the industry going forward.

To meet the sector resource needs, Pertemps are currently working with suppliers, not only to provide skills now, but also look how new talent can be attracted to this ever-growing sector to offset demand.

In view of the ambitious scale and cost targets for sector, UK business needs to step up and provide a competitive offering that and complements the existing supply chain. Furthermore, they need to be encouraged to offer innovative and cost-effective services and technology to the sector, with a clear recruitment strategy to ensuring they have the talent in place to deliver.

As a country, we need to adapt, source and retrain today for skill requirements that will be reducing in oil, gas and other carbon business tomorrow.

Please feel free to contact us to see how we can help your talent requirements now and in the future.


Overview of Offshore Wind Energy

The UK offshore wind energy market is a quiet success story, with the largest existing turbine deployment in the world. It has proven technology and is already providing 8.5% of the UK’s electrical energy. This will rise to 35% by 2030, with a capability to  provide 50% of the UK’s future needs.

The cost of electricity from upcoming offshore wind projects has fallen by 50% in just two years and it is now the most cost-effective low carbon route for large scale generation in the UK. Forecasts indicate there will be £2.5 trillion global investment in wind energy (on and offshore) by 2040 providing further evidence that now is the time to invest in the sector.


The Future of Offshore Wind in the UK

The UK currently has 20GW of installed wind energy capacity with 8GW offshore and a current future offshore pipeline of either consented or announced capacity totalling 44GW, roughly enough to power 50% of UK homes. The offshore wind sector currently provides circa 11,000 long term quality jobs around the UK and is projecting 27,000 by 2030. The next 10 to 15 years will prove critical for the UK offshore wind industry with a number of opportunities (fixed and floating) to grow and excel on the horizon.

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