UK Picks Offshore Wind Champion. Opens $200M Floating Wind Fund for Expressions of Interest

(OE) The UK government on Friday appointed Tim Pick as the UK’s first Offshore Wind Champion, as a £160 million (around $199,6 million) floating offshore wind fund opens for expressions of interest.

“Ambitious plans to expand offshore wind around the United Kingdom to power homes and businesses with cheap, homegrown energy received a further boost today with the appointment of a new government champion and a multimillion-pound manufacturing fund opening for expressions of interest,” the UK Government said.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng confirmed Tim Pick’s selection as the first UK Offshore Wind Champion on Friday.

Until his retirement in April, Pick was Head of Energy, Resources, and Infrastructure at law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. Prior to joining Freshfields in 2013, he was head of Shearman & Sterling’s international Project Development and Finance practice.

“Tim has more than 25 years’ experience of advising on the development of energy projects in the UK, the Eastern Mediterranean, the Middle East and beyond, including in the oil and gas and power generation industries. He was based in Abu Dhabi for around a decade, with the balance of his law firm career based in London,” the government said.

The appointment comes as the government calls on industry for information on how best to invest the £160 million of support for floating offshore wind announced by the Prime Minister in October 2021.

The UK government said that the Floating Offshore Wind Manufacturing Investment Scheme (FLOWMIS) would provide £160 million (around $199,6 million) in government funding to boost floating offshore wind capability around the UK at sites in Scotland, Wales, and elsewhere “by supporting manufacturers and giving private investors the confidence to back this emerging sector which is expected to rapidly expand in the years ahead.”

Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: We are delighted to appoint Tim Pick as the UK’s first Offshore Wind Champion and begin the process of supporting British jobs and offshore wind manufacturers with £160 million of government funding. Our announcement today represents another important step in our ambitious plans to accelerate offshore wind as a source of affordable, homegrown energy for the UK and drive down bills for households.”

Tim Pick is expected to play what the government says is a vital role in spearheading the work to accelerate new offshore wind projects around the UK, chairing the Offshore Wind Acceleration Taskforce (OWAT).

This Taskforce will bring together companies from across the offshore wind sector to coordinate their efforts, and speed up the further development of offshore wind power in the UK.

1000 floating wind foundations needed

The government reminded that the country’s emerging floating offshore wind sector already has two operational projects generating power off the coast of Scotland at Hywind Scotland and Kincardine. 

The £160 million of funding is expected to unlock further deepwater port infrastructure and support private investment in new factories to mass-produce major components for floating offshore wind, with ambitions for projects off the coast of Wales.

15GW’s of floating offshore wind in Scottish waters have been announced through the ScotWind leasing round, and a further 4GW is to be leased off the Welsh coast in the Celtic Sea which, combined, could require well over a thousand floating wind foundations, according to the government.

“This will present the UK with a huge opportunity to establish a world-leading sector capable of bringing down technology costs and delivering floating offshore wind at scale,” the UK government said.

The government’s Request for Information will help the government to understand the opportunities available in the UK and how its can most effectively support private investment.

The government announced in the British Energy Security Strategy its ambition to deliver up to 50GW of offshore wind by 2030, including up to 5GW of floating wind, produced by turbines on floating platforms out in deeper seawaters, many off the coast of Scotland and Wales.

“This expansion to 50GW will further attract vital investment to UK coastal communities, adding to the 60,000 direct and indirect jobs we estimate could already be supported by the offshore wind sector by 2030, and leveling up Scotland, Wales, and the wider country. It will help to reduce the UK’s reliance on expensive, imported fossil fuels, developing clean, affordably produced energy produced in the UK, for the people of the UK,” the government said.

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