Offshore renewables represents billions of pounds of opportunity for UK businesses

Source: press release, 26 January 2021

NSRI Director for Research and Market Acceleration, Tony Laing
NSRI Director for Research and Market Acceleration, Tony Laing (photo: NSRI)

Offshore renewables present a multi-billion-pound opportunity for UK businesses, but experts claim many do not have sufficient knowledge of the emerging industry to be able to capitalise on these.

The University of Strathclyde, the National Subsea Research Initiative (NSRI) and industry body, Subsea UK, believe that businesses in the UK must have a greater understanding of the sector in order to engage effectively.

They have developed a specialist 2-day course to provide business with the commercial and technical knowledge required to secure contracts in offshore and marine renewables.

The offshore wind industry alone is projected to provide up to 60,000 jobs in the UK by 2030, both onshore and offshore.

To meet this forecast, there will be increasing demand for a new generation of diverse and highly skilled workers from all disciplines and across the whole of the UK. Meeting this demand and developing the future workforce will require coordination between government, industry, and educational institutions.

The ambitious jobs creation figure, which is outlined in the UK Government’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, would support the government’s target of producing 40 GW of offshore wind capacity – enough to generate more power than currently used in our homes – by the end of this decade.

Expectations are that in addition to government funding, offshore wind could draw in around GBP 20 billion of private investment by 2030.

Tony Laing, Director for Research and Market Acceleration, NSRI, says, “The prospects for involvement in this rapidly growing sector are vast and wide-ranging and it’s crucial that companies act now if they are to retain and grow their world-leading capabilities in this global market.”

Aimed at professionals ranging across designers, developers, planners, and contractors as well as governmental, financial, and legal institutions, the foundation level course, which will be delivered virtually on February 25-26, will help delegates understand the technical and business aspects of the offshore renewable sector.

It will be delivered by experienced personnel drawing on knowledge gained over the last 50 years in offshore engineering.

They will address the commercial and technical lifecycle of offshore renewable assets, exploring design, manufacture, installation, power generation operations through to decommissioning.

Professor Feargal Brennan, Head of Naval Architecture, Ocean and Marine Engineering at the University of Strathclyde, says, “The timing of this course is crucial; with the climate emergency backdrop and recently announced ambitious targets by governments to massively expand offshore wind, there isn’t a more exciting time to engage with the offshore energy sector as it transitions from oil and gas to sustainable energy vectors including wind, wave, tidal, blue/green hydrogen and CCUS.”

“The coming years will demand novel and innovative technical and commercial solutions building upon decades of world-leading offshore engineering experience if we are to maximise this opportunity for the benefit of the environment, our coastal communities, industry and service supply base,” Brennan continues.

Laing says, “The UK already leads in the generation of electricity from offshore wind and achieving the ambitious targets set by government could quadruple that output, potentially doubling the jobs in the sector ranging from those planning and building the onshore infrastructures, to engineers and researchers developing innovative technologies to enhance our subsea expertise.”

Neil Gordon, Chief Executive of Subsea UK adds, “This joint university-industry training initiative by leading international specialists in offshore engineering is a great example of the activity needed to inform ambitious individuals of the opportunities for themselves and their organisations to engage and contribute to this rapidly developing and exciting sector.”