Britain is the world’s biggest offshore wind market and aims to quadruple capacity this decade, although there are few factories that make turbine parts. Port upgrades are on the way. Britain is already the world’s biggest offshore wind market, with more than 10 gigawatts built over the past two decades and a target of 40 gigawatts by 2030. Yet when it comes to those big turbine components, it has barely a handful of factories to its name. Britain has no factory to produce nacelles, the boxes at the centre of the turbine that contain the generating equipment; most are made in Germany and Denmark. A small number of offshore turbine towers and foundations have been made in the UK but the vast majority come from overseas, whether Europe, the Middle East or Far East. Some cabling within wind farms is produced in Britain, but those linking them to shore are generally made abroad. The main success story is blades: the Danish wind turbine manufacturer Vestas has been making offshore blades on the Isle of Wight since 2015, while the German-Spanish group Siemens Gamesa opened a factory in Hull in 2016. The two sites have made blades for about 700 of around 2,300 turbines that are spinning in UK waters. Yet still less than 30p in every £1 of capital investment in UK offshore wind farms is estimated to be spent in Britain. Kwasi Kwarteng, the business secretary, is attempting to improve this. With offshore wind central to the government’s future power plans, he told The Times it was his “own personal mission as business secretary to ensure we are fully capturing the economic benefits in the UK in a way we haven’t always done in the past”. The government wants to move “onshore manufacturing to the UK, attract a wave of private investment and create thousands of good-quality, long-term jobs in our industrial heartlands as we build back better from the pandemic”.
Times 19th May 2021 read more »