Tuesday 6th October 2020
Commenting on the Prime Ministers’ announcement at the Conservative Party Conference on new offshore wind projects, UK Steel Director General, Gareth Stace, said:
“The PM’s new ambition to reach 40GW of offshore wind power by 2030, is to be welcomed. It is great news for the climate, but it is critical it also good news for the UK economy, UK manufacturing and the UK steel sector.
“Every GW of offshore wind power requires some 180,000 tonnes of steel, meaning this increased ambition could require over five million tonnes of steel. Sourcing this steel from the UK could support up to 5,400 jobs through the next decade and contribute £4.8 billion to the UK economy. This is how you ensure offshore wind developments can spread wealth and opportunity around the country to places like Scunthorpe, Port Talbot, Cardiff and Sheffield.
“However, except for some of the steel for the foundations – virtually none of the steel comes from the UK today, for the simple reason that the UK still lacks the majority of the offshore wind manufacturing supply chain. It is vital that in massively expanding the offshore wind capacity of the UK that the Government focuses on building a domestic supply chain that will support UK manufacturing jobs, including those in the steel sector.
“In the short term – we want to see the UK Government place the same requirements on offshore wind developers as it does on other public projects when it comes to the procurement of steel. Let’s have a target for UK content, let’s make sure we know where the steel is made, and let’s make sure UK companies have the best opportunities possible to supply it.
“Energy consumers ultimately pay for these wind farms, through power bills and subsidies – and it is only right that the Government focusses its attention on getting as much economic value for the UK as possible out of them. The UK is by far the largest market for offshore wind in the world, one-third of the total, and it is mad that we continue to import most of the equipment needed for it.”