Carbon Trust Research Confirms Role of Offshore Wind in UK's Green Growth

Growth of up to 10% per year with up to 230,000 jobs in 2050 

New economic analysis released by the Carbon Trust reveals that the global offshore wind sector is set to grow by up to 10 per cent per year and the Carbon Trust expects the UK to capture around a 10% share of the global offshore wind market, which is estimated to be worth up to £170bn/year (1) by 2050. The new analysis also concludes the sector could be employing up to 230,000 people in the UK by 2050.

The research examined the potential of offshore wind to drive green growth in the UK, based on global deployment levels of up to 1150GW by 2050. It looked in detail at jobs and revenues by industry sector, including turbines, foundations, collection & transmission, installation and the operation and maintenance of offshore wind farms. It found that offshore wind could represent a gross contribution to UK GDP generated by business of up to £10bn (2) a year, or £100bn cumulatively between 2010 and 2050. By 2050, the greatest contribution for the UK will be created by the operation and maintenance of offshore wind farms, followed by turbine manufacture and installation.
The new data also concludes that offshore wind could create up to 230,000 jobs in the UK by 2050. Exports from the UK offers significant growth potential, generating up to 80 per cent of total jobs out to 2050.

Benj Sykes, director of Innovations at the Carbon Trust, commented:
“This analysis confirms that offshore wind is a strategically important economic asset for the UK that can deliver long term growth and energy security. The economic prize for the UK economy is vast and we have to grab it now. We are in an excellent position to be a global market leader. If we seize this green growth opportunity, the UK will benefit from hundreds of thousands of new jobs, a booming new export market and billions of pounds of business benefits.”

The table below outlines the potential gross contribution to UK GDP generated by the offshore wind sector, based on a scenario of 1150GW deployed globally by 2050 broken-down into each of the five major component areas. This is based on assumptions about the feasibility of exporting from the UK to different geographies and about how much supply chain capability develops in the UK.

Potential Gross contribution to UK GDP generate by the offshore wind sector by component area (£bn/year)

Market component/Year 2020 2030 2040 2050
Opex of farms 0.5 1.4 2.2 2.9
Installation 1.2 1.7 2.7 3.1
Collection and transmission 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4
Foundation 0.3 0.4 0.7 0.8
Turbine 1.1 1.5 2.4 2.8

The Carbon Trust’s analysis also includes a breakdown of jobs from exports based on a scenario of 1150GW of global deployment by 2050 and a central scenario of 45GW in the UK. 

UK jobs in the offshore wind sector by market

2020 2030 2040 2050
UK 20,000 40,000 29,000 27,000
Export 47,000 77,000 157,000 206,000
Total 66,000 117,000 187,000 233,000

Note: Figures do not add due to rounding

(1) The market value includes the installed costs of offshore wind turbines deployed (both new farms and re-powering of old wind farms) in the year and the operating and maintenance costs of all offshore wind turbines operating in the year
(2)  In real terms and discounted using the Social Time Preference Rate defined by HM Treasury

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