Britain missed out on thousands of jobs building offshore wind farms because the Government failed to develop a UK supply chain before handing high subsidies to the industry, according to a former civil servant who was central in the development of the North Sea oil industry.
Efforts to increase the UK share of work on offshore wind projects may now be “too little, too late”, but ministers must take urgent action to prevent the same mistake being made in the shale gas industry, Norman Smith said in a report for the independent think tank Civitas.
Only about a quarter of capital expenditure on the latest offshore wind farms was in the UK, according to the Government’s industrial strategy earlier this year. Ministers say if this were increased to 50pc by 2020, and 85pc of operational spend was also in the UK, it could deliver a £7bn boost to the economy.
Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, has said he wants to see “something approaching the 70pc that we already see in the oil and gas sector of supply chain made in Britain”.