Boris Johnson’s offshore wind plan to power economic recovery
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to outline how the UK should “build back greener” by quadrupling offshore wind energy capacity as a way to recover from the economic damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
At the Conservative Party Conference later today, Johnson will tell delegates that Britain must seize upon a “green industrial revolution” that has the potential to create hundreds of thousands of jobs.
Additionally, a £160m investment into ports and factories is to be promised as part of the drive to boost offshore wind capacity to 40 gigawatts (GW) by 2030.
The UK is currently the world leader in offshore wind capacity and costs have been plummeting in recent years.
“We need to give people the chance to train for the new jobs that are being created every day, in new technologies and new ways of doing things,” Johnson will say.
“There is one area where we are progressing quite literally with gale-force speed and that is the green economy - the green industrial revolution that in the next 10 years will create hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of jobs.
“I can today announce that the UK Government has decided to become the world leader in low-cost clean power generation – cheaper than coal and gas – and we believe that in 10 years’ time offshore wind will be powering every home in the country, with our target rising from 30GW to 40GW.”
Johnson will claim that the UK would become to offshore wind what Saudi Arabia is to oil.
Downing Street added that the £160m investment should lead to the creation of around 2,000 construction jobs and will enable the sector to support up to 60,000 jobs directly and indirectly by 2030 in ports, factories and the supply chains, manufacturing the next-generation of offshore wind turbines.
Green MP Caroline Lucas said: “Investment in offshore wind is welcome. For far too long, UK companies have been blocked by a lack of Government support.
“The Prime Minister’s announcement falls woefully short of a comprehensive green new deal that would actually build a better, greener Britain.”
John Sauven, executive director at Greenpeace UK, said: “The Prime Minister’s recognition that last year’s Tory manifesto commitment on offshore wind can generate jobs whilst cutting energy bills and carbon is a great lightbulb moment.
“If carried through it would help cement the UK’s global leadership in this key technology, but delivering 40GW of power on to the grid by 2030 requires action in this parliament.”
Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said: “We welcome the prime minister’s conversion to offshore wind farms, but what it reveals is the poverty of ambition compared with France and Germany.
“The spending proposed by Boris Johnson pales into insignificance with the vast sums that our main European competitors have invested in this sector.
“The commitment for 60 per cent of the turbines to be manufactured in the UK only highlights that much more could have been done to invest in this sector and the jobs boost that would have been created.”
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