A report published by RenewableUK shows for the first time that UK-based companies working in the wind, wave and tidal energy sectors are exporting goods and services worldwide on a massive scale.
“Export Nation: A Year in UK Wind, Wave and Tidal Exports” reveals that in 2016, an illustrative sample of 36 UK-based firms featured in the report signed more than 500 contracts to work on renewable energy projects in 43 countries in Africa, Asia, North America, South America, Europe and Australasia. The contracts featured ranged in value from £50,000 up to £30 million each.
This is the first time that the industry has assessed the extent of Britain’s global reach in these innovative technologies, and the wide range of products and services we sell overseas. The diverse reach of the contracts indicates that the UK is well placed to benefit from the $290bn global renewables market, trading with countries inside and outside the EU.
Projects featured include: Gaia-Wind in Glasgow which is exporting small onshore wind turbines as far afield as Tonga; JDR Cables which is manufacturing massive subsea power cables in Hartlepool for German offshore wind farms; and Sustainable Marine Energy in Edinburgh, which is making tidal turbine platforms for Singapore. The UK’s world-leading wave and tidal testing centres off the coasts of Cornwall and Orkney are highlighted as the destinations of choice for global companies testing full-size devices in real sea conditions.
The UK is exporting its knowledge too, with renewable energy consultancy firms in places such as Bristol, Newcastle, Colchester and Winchester, winning contracts to plan and oversee the development of wind farms and other renewable energy projects in dozens of countries including the USA, China, India, Chile, Japan, Indonesia, Taiwan and Mauritius.
RenewableUK’s Executive Director Emma Pinchbeck said: “The UK’s wind, wave and tidal energy exports are great British success stories on the international stage. Our businesses are securing hundreds of contracts, worth millions of pounds, across six continents. Our leadership in this $290bn renewables marketplace will be even more important as we leave the EU.
“We need to act swiftly to retain this competitive advantage or other nations will capitalise on the hard work our businesses have done to build opportunities. This year, as part of its Industrial Strategy, the Government will be looking to identify and support world-leading, innovative industries with global trade potential. This report shows that the UK’s wind and marine energy sectors can offer much to the Government’s Industrial Strategy. Britain must secure its position as a leading exporter in tomorrow’s global energy market”.
The study is released in the same week as the Global Wind Energy Council’s annual report (on Tuesday 25th April), which will highlight developments in the international wind energy market, offering further opportunities for British exporters.
- RenewableUK is the trade and professional body for the wind, wave and tidal energy industries. Formed in 1978, and with more than 400 corporate members which employ more than 250,000 people, RenewableUK is the country’s leading renewable energy trade association.
- The report is available here (NB it is a large file which will take several minutes to download). The study covers a sample of 36 companies based on a survey of member companies by RenewableUK. It also includes data from publicly announced contracts. In 2016, these 36 companies signed 557 export contracts for work on 527 renewable energy projects overseas in the onshore wind, offshore wind, wave and tidal energy industries. These range from individual orders for small turbines to multi-million pound contracts to provide massive components and heavy-duty infrastructure for offshore wind farms. The actual number of UK companies exporting, and the number of contracts signed, will be higher as the sample represents less than 10% of RenewableUK’s membership. The purpose of this study was to begin to assess the extent of export activity among UK-based wind, wave and tidal energy companies.
- The UK wind industry has an annual turnover of more than £5.9 billion in direct economic activity, according to the Office for National Statistics. This rises to over £11.3 billion when indirect economic activity is included. Offshore wind alone is bringing over £20 billion in investment to Britain over the course of this decade.
- GWEC’s annual Global Wind Market Report will be published on Tuesday 25th April. It provides a comprehensive snapshot of the global wind industry in more than 80 countries. This year’s edition includes insights into the 20 top wind markets across the world, including new entrants Vietnam and Argentina, and a five-year global market forecast out to 2021.