Report shows more investment is needed in offshore wind capacity to fulfil 2020 commitment

Britain will struggle to meet its legally-binding target of 15% energy from renewable sources by 2020 without a rapid expansion of offshore wind capacity which it is poorly placed to bring about, a report has found.

The Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) also said that, without further investment, the government was in danger of forfeiting 70,000 jobs in the sector. This is despite the fact that the UK has the greatest offshore wind potential of any country in the world.

Senior IPPR researcher, Matthew Lockwood, said the government needed to act fast. “Offshore wind has great potential for UK jobs, but we risk being blown off course.

“We need to follow through [targets] with concrete policies to create greater certainty, industry, maximise the potential for the UK economy and realise our environmental goals.”

The IPPR said the UK should learn the lessons of Denmark, Spain and Germany, which have all been successful in developing a local onshore wind industry. The IPPR argues for an “offshore wind investment programme” to develop this.

The report also calls for improvements in the supply chain, better monitoring of the impact of banding for the renewables obligation and a level playing field between tax breaks for offshore wind workers and those of other competing sectors, such as oil and gas.