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Government appoints Offshore Wind Champion to spearhead wind expansion

The government is asking for input on how best to invest in floating wind, with Equinor's Hywind project (pictured) one of two operational in the UK. Image: Øyvind Gravås / Woldcam.

The government is asking for input on how best to invest in floating wind, with Equinor's Hywind project (pictured) one of two operational in the UK. Image: Øyvind Gravås / Woldcam.

The government has appointed Tim Pick as the UK’s first Offshore Wind Champion as it calls for information on how to invest the Floating Offshore Wind Manufacturing Investment Scheme (FLOWMIS).

Pick is to chair the Offshore Wind Acceleration Taskforce (OWAT), playing a “vital role” in spearheading the work to accelerate new offshore wind projects around the UK, the government said.

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 & finance practice.

The OWAT, meanwhile, is to 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.

It follows the government raising the offshore wind target to 50GW by 2030 in the British Energy Security Strategy, a move it said will help further attract vital investment to UK coastal communities.

While this increase in ambition was largely praised by the industry, concerns that raising it without further detail is contributing to confusion and uncertainty within the market have been raised, while some industry players have called for more support for onshore wind.

The appointment of Pick as Offshore Wind Champion comes as the government today (23 May) calls on industry for information on how best to invest the £160 million of support for floating offshore wind through the FLOWMIS, which was announced by the Prime Minister in October 2021.

This funding is 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.

Earlier this year, 15GW of floating offshore wind in Scottish waters was announced through the ScotWind leasing round, while a further 4GW is to be leased off the Welsh coast in the Celtic Sea.

Combined, these projects could require well over a thousand floating wind foundations, which 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 government said.

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

“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," energy secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said.

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