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20 March 2024
Renewable Energy

UK Government to Support Floating Offshore Wind Hub at Port Talbot

The Department of Energy Security and Net Zero have agreed to advance the Future Port Talbot project to the primary list phase of the Floating Offshore Wind Manufacturing Investment Scheme (FLOWMIS), a closer step towards securing a share of up to £160m of UK Government funding.

FLOWMIS – launched as part of the Government's Powering Up Britain plans in March 2023 – is seeking to secure the UK's leadership in this emerging technology by providing funding to support private investment into port infrastructure projects that have the potential to support the scale of the pipeline.

The scheme will fund the basic infrastructure necessary to support the integration and assembly of wind turbines e.g. ensuring port infrastructure is constructed, replaced or upgraded (such as the building of quays) to accommodate large components such as towers and blades as well as steel and concrete foundations and mooring cables required for floating offshore wind. It could also go towards the dredging of the seabed to make it deeper.

The due diligence process will include a subsidy control assessment by the Competition and Markets Authority. This assesses whether proposals for grant funding are compliant with the subsidy control rules laid out in the Subsidy Control Act 2022.

Offers of funding for the successful projects are expected to be made later in the year.

In addition, The Crown Estate are moving forward with their plans to launch Offshore Wind Leasing Round 5, making available areas of seabed capable of supporting up to a further 4.5 GW of floating wind capacity in the Celtic Sea. The UK Government is working with The Crown Estate to bring forward additional floating wind in the Celtic Sea through the 2030s, which could see an extra 12GW of generation deployed.

Henrik L. Pedersen, Chief Executive Officer of Associated British Ports, said

“ABP is pleased that the UK Government is supporting the ambitious plan to transform the port of Port Talbot into a major hub for Floating Offshore Wind and green energy development. The FLOWMIS award, alongside significant ABP investment of more than £500 million, will begin to unlock a projected £1 billion of investment in Port Talbot and the surrounding area. This will develop a green economic hub supporting and creating nearly 10,000 jobs in South Wales and across the wider UK supply chain.”

“Today’s decision comes at a crucial time for Port Talbot and South Wales more broadly. The funding announced will help secure the region’s future as a hub of next-generation UK industry, providing thousands of jobs in the green economy right across the supply chain.”

“ABP is grateful that its bid was also supported by local members of both UK and Welsh Parliaments, Neath Port Talbot Council, the Welsh Government and by local, national and international businesses in the floating offshore wind supply chain. We look forwarding to working closely with all stakeholders as we progress into the due diligence phase of the FLOWMIS process and work to deliver our plans at pace.”

Welsh Secretary David TC Davies said:

“Floating offshore wind is crucial to the UK’s future energy plans and its potential development off the coast of South Wales is fantastic news as we look to create jobs and growth in this sector.

“It is also welcome news for the Port Talbot area where the UK Government is investing in Tata Steel’s transition to greener steelmaking. As well as ensuring thousands of steelmaking jobs will remain in Wales, we want to create even more opportunities for workers affected.

“The Celtic Freeport development promises to create 16,000 jobs and FLOWMIS moving a step closer shows we are backing South Wales to be at the forefront of the industries of the future.”

Minister for Nuclear and Renewables Andrew Bowie said:

“We are world leaders in offshore wind and our ambitions for floating offshore wind are no different, with the UK already home to the world's first floating wind farm and largest floating offshore wind pipeline.

“The development of the Celtic Sea and the Scottish marine area will put the UK in a strong position to support floating offshore wind deployment, delivering on our ambitions for up to 5GW by 2030 and greater deployment beyond.

“FLOWMIS will ensure we continue to be at the forefront of this new technology and today's progress signals our continued efforts across the renewables sector to support jobs, bring down bills in the long-term and provide cheaper, more secure energy for Britain.”

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