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Energy Minister pledges to speed up expansion of offshore wind by removing barriers to growth   

The Energy Minister Greg Hands has told the offshore wind industry that the Government is working closely with the sector to accelerate the deployment of offshore wind, by reducing delays in the consenting process and building up a strong UK supply chain.

He was speaking at RenewableUK’s annual Global Offshore Wind conference in Manchester, where he told delegates: “We’re all working together to remove barriers which restrict growth in the sector. To deliver a significant expansion, my department is making it easier for offshore wind projects to get off the ground, to address some of the delays and stoppages in the system. Already we’re reducing the time it takes for offshore wind projects to get planning and regulatory consents and to secure grid connections. To further support the industry we’re looking to reduce construction times by delivering a robust UK supply chain.

“The production of secure clean and domestically generated power has never been more important than it is today. Switching to cleaner sources of energy is our best route to overcome the volatile prices of imported hydrocarbons affected by Russian aggression in Ukraine. Offshore wind has a key part to play in our plan. By working together with RenewableUK and industry partners, we will ensure that we continue to be the standard bearers for the industry, shaping a path for the world to follow.

The Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport, Michael Matheson, also addressed the conference today. He focussed on the need to build up the manufacturing supply chain in Scotland, and on the massive potential of floating wind, saying: “Scotland’s huge deep water potential means that we expect floating wind to be vital in our transition to net zero. Scotland is already a world leader in the deployment of floating offshore wind technologies. The ScotWind leasing round breaks new ground in putting largescale floating wind technology on the map at gigawatt scale.

“Now we must make every effort to ensure the indigenous offshore wind supply chain can be maximised. I don’t want Scotland just to be seen as a great place to generate renewable energy; it’s got to be a centre where we’re also manufacturing and developing innovative technology. We need to maximise the jobs associated with the sector”.    

On Tuesday, the COP26 President Alok Sharma told delegates in a video message that the pace of the energy transition must increase, saying: “Putin’s brutal and illegal invasion of Ukraine has demonstrated to countries the dangers of relying on fossil fuels controlled by a hostile actor – and countries now understand the benefits of low-cost home-grown renewables, the price of which cannot be manipulated from afar.

“Climate and environmental security are now synonymous with energy and national security. Offshore wind is integral to this transition. The potential of wind is extraordinary. We can and we must continue to accelerate this transformation to the low carbon energy system of the future”.

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