Clean growth is a UK success story and one we can all be immensely proud of. Just over 10 years ago, we were the first country to introduce legally binding emissions targets through the Climate Change Act, and the progress in those 10 years has been remarkable. Is it mission accomplished? Not by a long way, but with emissions going down while the green economy grows, we have certainly taken a big step in the right direction.
A world that runs entirely on green energy is our vision at Ørsted and, in the UK, we see offshore wind as the backbone of our future energy system. And if we look back at the industry in 2008, it’s almost unrecognisable.
A decade ago, offshore wind was seen as a small, niche, growing industry but today the Committee on Climate Change, the National Infrastructure Commission and the Government all agree that by 2030 offshore wind can generate around a third of the UK’s electricity. We’re currently building utility-scale projects over 1 gigawatt in size that are each capable of powering over a million UK homes.
Quite simply, the UK is leading the world when it comes to offshore wind. Last year alone, we accounted for more than half of the new offshore wind power capacity built in Europe and in September this year, I was fortunate enough to formally open our Walney Extension project – the biggest offshore wind farm in the world. Featuring turbine blades made from leading manufacturing facilities in Hull and the Isle of Wight, and with more than 50 local suppliers involved in the construction process, the project is a great example of the multiple benefits of clean growth.
As well as helping us reduce carbon emissions, the industry is having a hugely positive economic impact across the country – creating thousands of jobs, helping to grow local businesses and regenerating coastal communities. Increasingly, our supply chain expertise presents a global export opportunity too.
The UK should be extremely proud of our world-leading offshore wind industry.
Of course there’s more to clean growth than just offshore wind. We believe energy storage, demand side management and waste-to-energy will all play an important role in moving us closer to those targets set out by the Climate Change Act. That’s why we’re building our first commercial-scale battery storage project in Liverpool and an innovative bioenergy plant in Cheshire. And it’s why we want to help businesses reduce emissions and costs at the same time through Energy as a Service.
Yes, there is much more to do undoubtedly – decarbonisation is a decades-long process. However, we should look back on the past ten years with a sense of pride in what we have achieved, and a sense of excitement about what’s possible over the next 10 years. As we continue to shift away from fossil fuels, let’s renew our mission to build a clean and affordable energy future.