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Windtech International July August 2024 issue






A report by Robert Gordon University (RGU) indicates that the UK will not achieve a 'just and fair' energy transition by 2030 unless there is urgent political alignment to support the offshore energy industry.

The report, "Delivering Our Energy Future," analysed over 6,560 pathways for the UK offshore energy sector. It found that political decisions, rather than energy market economics, will determine the future size of the workforce and supply chain.

Fewer than 0.3% of the pathways meet the 'just and fair' transition criteria. These scenarios require substantial investment in renewables over the next six years. Professor Paul de Leeuw, Director of the RGU Energy Transition Institute, emphasised the need for faster planning, grid access, flexible electricity pricing, and a focus on building UK content to achieve a successful transition.

The report states that if the UK cannot increase its offshore wind capacity to close to 40GW from the current 15GW and ensure significant UK content by 2030, it is unlikely to maintain its offshore energy workforce. This will require a shift in activities, including oil and gas production, which is expected to decline by over 40% by 2030.

To sustain the offshore energy workforce at 2023 levels, the UK must deliver close to 40GW of installed offshore wind capacity and ensure up to 40% of the investment is spent in the UK. Significant new operational capacity and capability are needed to meet these targets. Each additional 10% of UK content in offshore wind projects could create between 3,000 and 12,500 jobs by 2030. The report also highlights that maintaining economic contribution may require up to 7% more workers due to salary differentials between oil and renewables sectors.

In Scotland, one in 30 people work in or support the offshore energy industry, compared to one in 220 across the UK. If Scotland does not capture a significant share of future renewables activities, it may need to continue selective oil and gas activities until 2030 to retain its workforce and economic contributions.

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