The UK leads the world today in both deployment and ambition for offshore renewable energy. It has more than double the installed offshore wind capacity of any other nation and has ambitious targets for both offshore wind and marine energy. Together, the UK’s global leadership in current deployment and strong future targets are supporting the development of an indigenous industry that is set to provide substantial economic benefits through the first half of the 21st century and beyond.
Working with the Fraser of Allander Institute (FAI) at Strathclyde University and BVG Associates, the ORE Catapult has quantified the economic opportunity that offshore renewables can deliver out to 2020, identified the biggest opportunity areas and has sought to understand how the UK’s offshore potential can be made a reality.
In its December 2013 Electricity Market Reform Delivery Plan, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) published two scenarios for offshore wind in which installed capacity reached 8GW and 15GW by the end of 2020. In DECC’s marine energy scenario installed capacity reached around 100MW by the end of 2020.
For each offshore wind scenario, we built a “gradual growth” path that reflects existing market conditions. Recognising that industry and government have the potential to achieve much more, we have also considered an “accelerated growth” path which assumes a series of public sector interventions which support the UK’s ambitions, driving cost reduction and quality improvements through greater innovation and investment.
For marine energy, we considered a single scenario against DECC’s anticipated 100MW deployment by 2020.
We considered each part of the supply chain, how much new investment was likely in each scenario and how much of the expenditure would be in the UK. Using established economic tools, we modelled the resulting economy-wide Gross Value Add (GVA) and job creation.
Figure 1 shows that in the 15GW accelerated growth path scenario for offshore wind, where UK companies seize the opportunity and innovate collaboratively, GVA can reach almost £6.7bn in 2020, supporting 34,000 direct jobs and 150,000 jobs in total.
With the gradual growth path to 8GW installed in 2020, GVA can reach £2.3bn in 2020, with just under 12,000 direct jobs and 50,000 jobs supported in total.