Construction of offshore wind projects, including SSE's 588MW Beatrice, are boosting UK infrastructure spend
Construction of offshore wind projects, including SSE's 588MW Beatrice, are boosting UK infrastructure spend

Wind power makes up fifth of UK infrastructure spend

posted by David Weston
16 February 2017

More than 20% of the entire UK’s infrastructure construction contract value in 2016 came from the offshore wind industry, according to research from market analyst Barbour API.

In 2016, offshore wind sector’s contract value totalled £4.1bn, up from £2.45bn in 2015 and nearly six times the £700m in 2013.

The UK’s total infrastructure contract value reached £19.26bn in 2016, up from £18.9bn in 2015, showing the increasing importance of offshore wind in the industry.

In the utilities and power sector, offshore wind accounted for 42.1% of construction contract spend, an increase on 29.9% in 2015, according to Barbour's latest data.

Barbour points to three major offshore wind projects providing the increase in contract value: SSE’s 588 megawatt (MW) Beatrice site off Scotland, and Innogy’s 336MW Galloper and ScottishPower Renewable’s 714MW East Anglia One, both off east England.

“Back in 2013, offshore wind farms accounted for only 7.5% of the annual construction value for the utilities and power sector,” said Michael Dell, lead economicst at Barbour API. “With reports showing the costs of producing electricity in this way have fallen significantly, the increase in construction value makes sense.

“We have also seen a large uptake in the planning pipeline for future offshore wind farms, with £23.2bn worth of construction planned over the coming years, suggesting this burgeoning sector will continue to expand in 2017 and beyond,” Dell added.

Trade body RenewableUK said the UK was “reaping the benefits” of the offshore market.

“By winning nearly half of the construction contracts in the energy sector, offshore wind is showing that renewables are not just about clean energy generation — they are about substantial modern infrastructure investment,” said RenewableUK’s executive director Emma Pinchbeck. 

“Offshore wind is transforming places like Hull, Grimsby, Great Yarmouth and the Isle of Wight — and there are a host of supply chain companies benefiting across the country, in West Lothian, Cheshire, Leicestershire, Bedfordshire and Hampshire. These UK businesses are the backbone of the new clean energy economy,” Pinchbeck added.

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