There’s opportunity blowing in the wind, waves and tides

Ed Hill, Deputy Editor of PES
Ed Hill, Deputy Editor of PES

This month’s cover story focuses on the work of the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult in helping to develop the UK supply chain in this rapidly growing market.

For many years, the debate around the development of greener forms of energy generation has revolved around reducing the impact of carbon emissions on the environment and climate change.

However, the fallout from the war in Ukraine and subsequent rise in energy costs due to Europe’s reliance on Russian oil and gas has highlighted that being able to generate as much of our own electricity domestically not only means cheaper energy but also a system that is more resilient to the fluctuations of global politics.

The UK has already made much progress in offshore renewable energy. In fact, it is said we currently have the largest installed offshore wind capacity in the world, with many more arrays either being built or planned in the pipeline – or should I say cable!

Nevertheless, it has to be admitted that up to this point most of the benefit in manufacturing terms has been reaped by foreign owned companies. That’s why the most important statistic quoted by Andrew Macdonald, director of offshore wind development and operations at ORE Catapult in the article, is the UK Government’s commitment that by 2030, 60% of the content in UK wind farms should come from our own domestic businesses. 

This is a huge opportunity for UK companies to make the most of our renowned ability for innovation and high engineering standards, and to develop those skills and technology not only for our own market but also to export them globally. Aside from wind power there are also prospects in related technologies such as wave and tidal power.  

So, I urge engineering businesses to explore the offshore energy market, even if you have little or no experience of it before. Even if your nearest Hâ‚‚O is a canal in the West Midlands. This is exactly why organisations like the ORE Catapult exist, to identify the opportunities available and help you take the first steps along that journey. 

The Government’s target is that 30% of our energy should come from offshore sources by 2030. If we are to reach it there will be huge demand and we need to nurture homegrown capability and capacity as much as we can. Too often UK companies seem to miss out when it comes to newer markets like these so there has never been a better time to get involved.

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