The Dogger Bank Wind Farm in the North Sea started producing electricity in October, making it the world’s largest offshore wind farm. This breakthrough achievement was welcomed by UK Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, who believed it would improve energy security, create jobs, lower electricity bills, and keep the country on track for Net Zero. Build on this success, Offshore Wind North East 2023, a major offshore wind event, took place in Sunderland, featuring exhibits and businesses from the region and the UK. Invest North East England was one of the 130-plus exhibitors, promoting the offshore wind sector in the region.
The North East has been involved in offshore wind since 2000, boasting of global recognition as an industry leader in green energy revolution. Therefore, it is an ideal location for inward investments, especially in developing skills for green jobs. Since the offshore wind sector is expected to grow significantly, skills in STEM subjects are essential to drive employment growth and support the workforce of the future. The North East has already put in place the infrastructure to create a pipeline of talent for the sector. Innovative courses and pioneering facilities at local colleges like Newcastle College’s Energy Academy, Northumberland College’s Wind Turbine Technical Training Centre at the Port of Blyth, and South Shields Marine School are adequately preparing the talent for green jobs in the future.
The demand for Offshore wind also calls for the building of infrastructure to grow the sector. The North East is focusing on developing floating offshore wind turbines, which eventually will need port infrastructure. For example, Port of Tyne, Smulders UK, and Shepherd Offshore are bidding for government funding to make this possible.
Additionally, the region is expanding its supply chain in the offshore wind sector, which is attracting a substantial public and private investment across the sector. The expansion includes new bases, more investments in companies like Smulders UK, JDR Cables, and Van Oord, and most importantly, growth in new job openings.
Offshore wind power is deemed an essential resource that can deliver clean, domestic energy, leading the UK government to raise its ambition to 50GW by 2030, including up to 5GW of floating offshore wind. With world-leading research and development capabilities and four ports, the North East is well-positioned to help the government meet its targets while delivering long-term economic benefits.
The Director of Invest North East England, Guy Currey, invites businesses interested in the offshore wind sector’s inward investment opportunities in the North East to visit investnortheastengland.co.uk.