Industry leaders in the UK have added their voices to the growing chorus of politicians and executives highlighting offshore wind’s potential role in economic recovery after Covid-19
Their call to prioritise offshore wind came after German Economics Minister Peter Altmaier said offshore wind would have an important role in the recovery of the European economy.
ScottishPower chief executive Keith Anderson says the UK should accelerate offshore wind projects to help the country recover from the economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. Mr Anderson highlights the groundswell of support in the UK and in the EU for using green power projects to drive recovery. “Onshore and offshore wind are the least expensive form of new generation available to us,” he says. “There are a huge number of projects coming through, and there is definitely an opportunity to accelerate investment and bring more projects forward.
“History shows us time and time again that when you need economic recovery, infrastructure projects are incredibly important. Offshore wind projects are huge infrastructure projects. They can create huge value throughout the supply chain. What is brilliant about this industry is that it can do all that while building out green energy and helping to meet 2050 targets for net zero.”
Iberdrola global offshore wind managing director Jonathan Cole says, “Long after this public health crisis abates, we will be living with a pretty severe economic crisis. Stimulating investment in large-scale infrastructure programmes is one way to get out of that. Offshore wind can do that because it has cascading benefits all the way through the economy. Rather than take away the case for offshore wind, Covid-19 has strengthened it.”
However, he did sound a note of caution. “We have experienced some fragility in the supply chain because of Covid-19,” he says. “We’re going to be living in quite a volatile world for a while, with currency devaluations, questions about access to finance and some parts of the value chain finding life more difficult. We might see power prices flattening off and we might see restrictions on the way we work.
“There needs to be a recognition in any stimulus package that we need to protect the supply chain,” Mr Cole says, “and that the industry might not be able to progress quite as quickly along the cost reduction path that it has been following. And we might not be quite as quick getting to merchant pricing in offshore wind either.”
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