The British government sees offshore wind as a genuine opportunity to lead.
Yesterday, I wrote about new analysis suggesting the rate of decarbonization in Britain—which has been on a record streak—is beginning to slow. And I suggested that new ambition will be needed to maintain momentum as the low hanging fruit of coal generation has, for the most part, now been plucked.
Well, the government does seem to see potential for continued decarbonization. And key to that effort will be offshore wind.Business Green reports that the UK has now signed a 'Sector Deal' outlining how the government can cooperate with the offshore wind industry to create jobs, and continue expansion of a technology which has already played a significant role in transforming the country's energy landscape over the last decade or two.
Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry described the significance of the deal:
"This new Sector Deal will drive a surge in the clean, green offshore wind revolution that is powering homes and businesses across the UK, bringing investment into coastal communities and ensuring we maintain our position as global leaders in this growing sector. By 2030 a third of our electricity will come from offshore wind, generating thousands of high-quality jobs across the UK, a strong UK supply chain and a fivefold increase in exports. This is our modern Industrial Strategy in action."
Included in the deal are commitments from industry to source 60% of offshore wind project components from within the UK, as well as a promise from the Crown Estate—which is responsible for managing the coastline—to free up land parcels for development. There's also a strong focus on government support for boosting exports, which might just help us on this side of the pond if the US does finally get serious about its own offshore wind potential.
This deal is encouraging news indeed. And with the country languishing in pre-Brexit uncertainty and division, it's nice to see a focus on an area where there is real potential for leadership. Let's just hope that Brexit doesn't detail that. And let's also hope that the government continues to push on other fronts, such as electrification of transportation and deep retrofits of existing housing stock. After all, as the grid runs on increasing amounts of renewables, it's going to make even more sense to go (efficiently) electric wherever is humanly possible.