The number of people working in the UK offshore wind industry will surge to almost 100,000 by 2030, according to a new report.
The Offshore Wind Industry Council (OWIC) study found that the sector currently supports more than 31,000 jobs, which is a 16% increase on the 26,000 jobs reported in last year’s survey.
Of these, 19,600 are direct jobs (solely in offshore wind) and 11,500 are indirect, such as supply chain companies which manufacture products for the offshore wind industry as well as goods for other sectors.
However, the report forecasts that by 2030 the industry will employ 97,465 people, 61,361 of those being direct and 36,104 indirect jobs.
The report also states that between 2022 and 2030, the industry will see £155 billion of private investment in new offshore wind projects.
This would take the average annual spend to more than £17 billion a year, higher than the amount forecast last March which was an average annual spend of just over £10 billion.
The UK Offshore Wind Skills Intelligence Report described the forecasts as “nothing short of extraordinary” and said that they “underline the incredible resilience of the offshore wind industry and its ability to continue to be the clean energy backbone of the UK’s economic renaissance”.
The OWIC said the increases reflect the enormous expansion of the UK’s total pipeline of offshore wind projects at all stages of development over the past 12 months.
It said this 60% increase has been driven mainly by major leasing round announcements by the Crown Estate (8 GW) and Crown Estate Scotland (25 GW) – with the recent ScotWind announcement in which 17 projects were selected.
OWIC’s People & Skills workstream is led by RenewableUK’s deputy chief executive Melanie Onn, who said: “This report shows that we’re making rapid progress in seizing the economic benefits of the Green Industrial Revolution, and that we’ll need to continue to grow fast to ensure that we meet the Government’s target of 50 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030 – a fivefold increase in our current capacity.”
The report found that 30% of the current jobs are in Scotland, while the English region with the highest proportion of posts is Yorkshire and the Humber, with 15%.
Charlotte Stamper, senior policy manager at Scottish Renewables, said: “Recent announcements saw 25GW of projects awarded leases to develop in Scottish waters, up from just 1GW today.
“The benefits to Scottish communities which stem from this will be transformational: projects which were recently awarded seabed leases have committed to invest in Scotland – and specifically in supply chain businesses – on a scale never seen before, in any industry.
“This investment will deliver tens of thousands of skilled jobs, allow Scottish firms to compete in the global offshore wind market and revitalise communities from the Borders to the islands.”
The study also shows that the percentage of women working in offshore wind has increased slightly from the 18% reported a year ago to 19.25%, however the industry still has some way to go before reaching its target of 33% by 2030.
UK Energy Minister Greg Hands said: “This report demonstrates the extraordinary potential of renewable energy to create jobs, drive investment and secure cheaper, clean electricity.
“We have ambitious plans to go even further as the UK becomes a global renewable energy powerhouse.”