Will you find your next engineering job in the UK renewable energy sector?

Eight new renewable energy projects have recently been announced as part of the government’s reforms on electricity – creating an expected 8,500 jobs.

The green projects will incorporate different sources of renewable energy, such as biomass conversions, biomass CHP and offshore wind. In terms of power, they could put 4.5GW of energy towards Britain’s total output.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) estimates that by 2020, the combined might of the projects will provide 8,500 jobs, supported by £12bn of private sector investment.

An expected 14% (15TWh) of all renewable energy before 2020 will be generated by these new projects. The projects include the following:

  • 664MW Beatrice offshore wind farm in Scotland
  • Drax Unit #1 biomass conversion in Selby, Yorkshire
  • 299MW Teesside biomass (combined heat and power) in Middlesbrough

It’s estimated that due to plant closures and the requirement to replace and upgrade the existing electricity infrastructure, the UK electricity sector will need to raise around £110bn of capital investment. One of the goals is to make sure that the UK is a leader in low-carbon electricity. Once successful, the planned projects will help to achieve this, with a reduction in emissions by 10 MtCO2 per year, when compared to the existing fossil fuel power generation.

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To put the drive to renewables in perspective, Energy and Climate Change Secretary Edward Davey made a statement saying: “These are the first investments from our reforms to build the world’s first low carbon electricity market - reforms which will see competition and markets attract tens of billions of pounds of vital energy investment whilst reducing the costs of clean energy to consumers.”

The government expects renewables growth to continue (the market share has more than doubled since 2010), and the Electricity Market Reform will help to achieve an expected delivery of over 30 per cent renewable electricity in 2020.

Offshore wind has received the go ahead for three projects, each being developed by DONG Energy; the Burbo Bank extension in the South Irish Sea, Hornsea1 located 100km off the coast of Grimsby, and the Walney Extension in the East Irish Sea.

“We are delighted that we have been successful with all three of our FID contract applications we submitted to the UK Government,” said Henrik Poulsen, CEO of DONG Energy. “These awards represent the successful conclusion of the Electricity Market Reform (EMR) process that has been ongoing over the last few years.  It shows that the UK is an attractive place to invest in offshore wind; not only for its great natural resources, but also because of the stable investment environment created by EMR.”

Each of the eight successful projects have been awarded contracts through the Final Investment Decision Enabling for Renewables process.

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