The UK government just signed a deal that aims for a third of electricity to be powered by offshore wind energy by 2030.
It’s called the Offshore Wind Sector Deal — and will see businesses invest £250 million over the next 11 years in exchange for £557 million in renewable subsidies, according to the Guardian.
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If all goes to plan, it will eventually mean that renewables will generate more electricity than fossil fuels in the UK for the first time in its history — making up 70% of all British energy.
It will triple the number of jobs in the sector to 33,000 and challenge the industry to double its female employees to at least 33% of the workforce too.
The deal also includes £4 million to help countries like Indonesia, Vietnam, and Pakistan beat back its dependence on coal with offshore wind projects built with British expertise and technology.
New govt-industry Offshore Wind Sector Deal to make the UK a global leader in renewables with more investment potential than any other country in the world, as part of our modern #IndustrialStrategyhttps://t.co/s50D3tcsJu 🌊🌬️#CleanGrowthpic.twitter.com/hUBabgHyXD— Dept for BEIS (@beisgovuk) March 7, 2019
Renewable energy supplied a record 33.4% of British electricity last year — equal to the planned proportion that offshore wind power will provide by itself in just over 10 years time — in contrast to just 6.7% a decade earlier. This is despite policy changes that appeared to undermine the growth of green power.
In 2017, British investment in green energy fell by 56% — a drop in funding worse than any other country on the planet. It came as the government quietly banned subsidies on onshore wind farms over fears it was an eyesore for countryside property owners, while ruling out any new renewable energy subsidies until 2025.
However the government didn’t quite expect the “disarray” caused by the breakdown of several deals to build nuclear power plants across the country — leaving a big energy hole that needed to somehow be filled.
In Lowestoft to launch the Offshore Wind Sector Deal, a partnership between Govt and industry to:— Claire Perry (@claireperrymp) March 7, 2019
-Triple the amount of energy we get from Offshore Wind
- Ensure our energy supply is over 70% from clean sources by 2030
- Create 27,000 jobs, with 1/3 going to women by 2030! pic.twitter.com/IkJ2I9mzQ2
Plans for three new nuclear sites have been put on hold after months of financial negotiations broke down recently. Moreover, seven of eight UK nuclear plants will shut in the next 10 years as the reactors reach the end of its lifetimes.
Right now the only nuclear project still moving forward is its most controversial: the Chinese-owned Hinkley Point in Somerset that the Guardian reported would cost twice the amount of the London 2012 Olympics.
“The government’s plans for a fleet of new nuclear reactors has collapsed,” said John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace UK. “This leaves Britain with a big energy gap in the future. It means the government’s latest offshore wind target of 30 gigawatts by 2030 is woefully inadequate.”
“Renewable power now presents the best opportunity for cheaper, cleaner, and faster decarbonisation,” he added. “Wind and solar must be tripled between now and 2030, with offshore wind the future backbone of the UK’s energy system.”
Global Citizen reported in February that the UK is already home to the world’s largest offshore wind farm. It will be five times the size of Hull once completed, based just off the Yorkshire coast, and will reportedly be able to generate enough juice to power a million homes.
It’s being built by Danish developer Ørsted. The public company is majority-owned by the government of Denmark, which possess 50.1% of its total shares.
“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,” said Energy Minister Claire Perry