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News from the UK Power Industry 12th March 2019

Posted by: James Turner
Industry News

Government supercharge offshore wind to triple industry jobs

The UK has been a world leader in the wind industry for many years but now the government have published a Sector Deal to boost the UK’s manufacturing base and tap into the offshore wind industry's huge export potential. The deal sets out how government and industry can work together to grow the offshore wind sector towards a new goal of providing one third of UK electricity by 2030.

Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry said: “This new Sector Deal will drive a surge in the clean, green offshore wind revolution that is powering homes and businesses across the UK, bringing investment into coastal communities and ensuring we maintain our position as global leaders in this growing sector.”

If this goal can be met it would mean the UK would, for the first time in history, generate more electricity from renewables than fossil fuels.

Work will soon begin to ensure the UK's offshore wind sector has access to the skilled workforce it will need to grow. The sector deal is expected to create job opportunities across the entire offshore wind supply chain, from the research and development of wind turbine blades through to project managing the design and manufacturing stages of the development of a windfarm.

“By 2030 a third of our electricity will come from offshore wind, generating thousands of high-quality jobs across the UK,” explained Perry. “This deal could support a tripling of jobs over the next few decades and it is exciting to see that the industry is encouraging my children’s generation – the UK’s workforce of the future – to propel themselves into the industry, giving them the skills they need to thrive in the sector.”

Prime Minister Theresa May has applauded the Sector Deal. “We are now a world leader in offshore wind and offshore wind is bringing high skilled jobs here and to other parts of the United Kingdom,” she said. “It means significant increases in jobs, in skilled jobs here in the UK.” Full stories here & here.

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Calls for government to secure carbon jobs

As clean, carbon-free technologies begin to thrive, the UK’s leading progressive thinktank IPPR has called on the UK government to deliver a 'Just Transition' that ensures workers in carbon intensive industries do not face unemployment and under-investment.

The report argues that the UK should follow Scotland's recently launched Just Transition Commission to ensure the body is led by regional representatives such as local enterprise partnerships, local authorities, local communities, local businesses and trade unions. The strategy has been backed by unions, businesses, campaigners, and policymakers.

“The north of England has the potential to be the powerhouse behind a much-needed clean energy revolution," said Director of IPPR North Sarah Longlands. "But this opportunity is not a foregone conclusion. We need policymakers to step up and devolve power to the North through the creation of a Just Transition Commission, so that the people of the North can demonstrate just how powerful our potential is.”

Josh Emden, Research Fellow at IPPR and co-author of the report, said it was essential that initiative is put at the heart of government climate policy at all levels.

"Reducing our carbon emissions is one of the biggest challenges that we face today in the UK, but without radical action we put our natural environment, and Northern energy jobs at risk," he said. Full story.

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