A £100m fund seeks to enhance UK firms

A  £100m fund has been established to aid UK firms capitalize on the boom in offshore wind.

With the United Kingdom well suited for exploiting wind power, turbines have been set up in a lot more than 30 locations from Brighton to the Moray Firth.

But trade unions say the boom has not generated enough jobs for UK workers.

The Off-shore Wind Industry Council states its initiative will help hundreds of companies “maximize opportunities” in the offshore wind supply chain.

“The Off-shore Wind Growth Partnership will provide practical assistance for UK firms for them to compete successfully for deals in this thriving global market,” stated Benj Sykes, chairman of the OWIC and UK country manager for the Danish firm Orsted.

The OWIC, which is a joint government and industry body, will certainly invest the privately-raised funds over 10 years to support firms in the supply chain.

Firms that manufacture parts, lay cables and maintain wind farms will receive support ranging from “expert advice on manufacturing and commercialization” to funding for innovation. They will also be given support to export their products and services.

By 2030 the offshore wind power market is expected to be worth £30bn per year, with the UK supposed to be generating a third of its electricity from wind. The OWIC desires to raise the participation of UK businesses in the market from 48% currently to 60 %, under a sector deal agreed between industry and government.

The new fund would bring “investment, thousands of high-quality jobs and vast economic opportunities for groups across the UK”, energy and clean growth minister Chris Skidmore stated.

Last month GMB general secretary, Tim Roache said Britain’s politicians required “to sharpen their elbows in the fight for jobs” when it came to possibilities in the growing renewables sector.

The union says up to 1, 000 jobs could be created at two mothballed yards in Fife if EDF chose local institutions to manufacture parts for a huge wind farm project there, instead of as is predicted the work being done in Indonesia, Belgium and Spain.

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