A new white paper has been released that details the role offshore wind could play for the UK. According to Shadow Energy Minister, Huw Irranca-Davies, along with Chairman of the Environment Agency Lord Smith, without investments along with skilled workers, the industry will not flourish to its full capacity. Today, only 3 percent of energy currently consumed comes from renewables but the government has set a goal of 15 percent by 2020.
While the country does not current have any energy crisis, according to EU MD of E. On Renewables Michael Lewis, and Ben Goldsmith, co-founder of WHEB Partners, the government must “plan very rapidly to avoid one” and the UK “must use every from of renewable energy conceivable.
“I think we do have a cross-party consensus, that we can use to put certainty into the market that we will drive investment in, and fill that energy gap before we do have a crisis,” said Irranca-Davies.
Goldsmith added that the only way renewable energy projects will be built is if the asset class becomes institutionally credible, which it is not currently. To do so, the industry must deliver great returns.
The offshore wind industry could create 80,0000 to 100,000 jobs but a skills shortage is a major obstacle that must be overcome. The panel suggested ways to do this including more education with secondary aged school children and more promotion of science and technology as a well-paid career.
Also considered in the white paper as an energy source was nuclear. Lord Smith added, “Renewables and nuclear both need to be part of the picture – if you’d asked me 15 years ago I’d have said no to nuclear power, largely because of all the waste issues. But climate change has made a realist of me.”