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The UK has more operational wind farms than the rest of the world put together, with over 5GW in operation or under construction, and a further 14.3GW with consent, and likely to move into construction by the early 2020s.
Yet despite this international advantage, the UK offshore wind sector has not sufficiently capitalised on its lead to secure UK economic advantage.
As an industry we have a positive story to tell about engineering process and innovation, decarbonisation and cost reduction. We need to speak up more loudly to demonstrate that as an industry we also take delivering UK content and UK economic success seriously. Which is why the Offshore Wind Industry Council (OWIC) has agreed to begin monitoring and reporting on UK content.
Working on behalf of the Offshore Wind Programme Board (OWPB) for OWIC, we will conduct an annual survey of offshore wind developers, and publish findings, to show how industry is progressing.
Our target, agreed with Government, is to deliver 50% of UK content.
Already we have a very positive story to tell in how it is UK firms leading work in development and operation of wind farms. UK companies already supply critical components like cabling, foundations such as jackets and gearboxes. And with turbine manufacturers like Siemens and MHI Vestas Offshore Wind now committed to UK manufacture, we will soon see a significant increase in UK content in offshore wind equipment.
So as an industry we need to hold ourselves to account, and also set out what steps we are taking to go further. To do this, OWPB has worked to establish an agreed methodology, so that as an industry we are reporting on UK content in a consistent manner across different projects and companies, which we can also chart over time.