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Industry in Focus: Offshore Wind Energy in the UK

Offshore wind infographic (portrait version)


Headline Statistics about Offshore Wind Energy in the UK

  • There are 4,000 jobs in the offshore wind energy sector in the UK
  • It is anticiapted that there will be 30,000 jobs in this sector by 2020
  • Offshore wind energy produced twice as much energy in 2012 than it did in 2010
  • The UK is the number one in the world for offshore wind energy capacity
  • UK offshore wind energy has the potential to deliver £7bn each year in Gross Value Added to the UK economy by 2020

What is the UK Strategy for Offshore Wind Energy?

In August 2013, the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills and Department of Energy & Climate Change published the Offshore wind industrial strategy: business and government action. This policy paper laid out the future of the offshore wind energy industry within the UK.

The vision of the strategy is intended to deliver:

  1. economic growth creating tens of thousands of long term UK jobs
  2. a clear and sustainable project pipeline
  3. major manufacturing facilities in the UK
  4. the development of a competitive UK-based supply chain
  5. a technology cost-competitive with other low carbon technologies

Growth Potential

Independent analysis forecasts 28GW of installed offshore wind capacity across the EU by 2020 and 55GW across the EU by 2030. This shows there is huge growth potential for the sector.

Based on a strong growth scenario, the UK could benefit from £7bn per annum in Gross Value Added from this sector alone. The offshore wind energy sector could create benefit the country with 30,000 full time equivilent jobs and up to £18bn in estimated net exports by 2030.

Building on Our Strengths

The UK has a fantastic reputation within the global offshore wind energy market and has the right conditions to make it an attractive place to invest in this sector.

Our shallow shores and large wind resource make the conditions favourable to those looking to develop offshore wind farms and we have a robust regulatory regime, a solid planning framework and offshore leasing regime to facililate developments.

As the number one location in the world for offshore wind energy, the UK has the necessary expertise in all aspects of the offshore development process from installation and maintenance to the production and manufacturing the turbines. According to the report, the UK is also leading the the world in terms of research and development in this area.

Tackling the Challenges

To ensure the UK offshore wind energy supply chain reaps the benefits of the future developments in this sector, the UK Government has identified the following challenges that need to be addressed.

  • increasing visibility of the likely size and timing of future market demand
  • the presence of well-established competition in other countries
  • attracting tier one equipment suppliers and other inward investment to the UK
  • enabling UK supply chain companies to compete globally on cost and quality on a level playing field
  • overcoming barriers to development and demonstration of the next generation of technology to drive down costs
  • facilitating coastal and port infrastructure developments
  • ensuring we can meet the future demand for highly skilled staff and that companies have access to reasonable cost finan

Measures of success


UK turnover for sector, including exports
Number of jobs in sector
UK rated top location to invest

Providing market confidence and demand visibility

Improved awareness of future business opportunities
Increased business activity due to greater demand certainty

Building a competitive supply chain

Improved awareness of UK capabilities
Increased inward investment into the UK by foreign-owned offshore wind supply chain
Increased exports by UK-based companies and contracts with foreign companies
Increased UK content in UK offshore wind sites, in both capital and operating

Supporting innovation

More test sites and increased uptake of testing facilities
Development of new technologies
Increased use of technology developed by UK-based companies
Reduced cost of offshore wind


Increased availability of affordable finance options

Building a highly skilled workforce

Increased awareness of career opportunities
Fewer key vacancies

What does this mean for Mirage?

As a supplier of specialist machinery to the offshore wind energy sector, such as orbital milling machines used in the production of wind turbine towers, Mirage is pleased with these developments. Better visibility of future projects within the sector via the "project-by-project pipeline of demand" - which will show key project milestones, invitations to tender and contracting decision point - are welcomed.

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