Steel shortages could threaten wind of change for Britain's offshore projects

Wind turbines
Wind turbines Copyright Canva
Copyright Canva
By Eleanor Butler
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The British government wants to deliver 50GW of offshore wind power by 2030 but its target faces delays unless domestic steel production is increased, says a leading consultancy firm.


Forcing the UK to rely on foreign steel to build wind turbines could increase the cost burden and slow down projects, according to a report by Newton Consultancy Group.

As part of the government's plan to decarbonise the economy, it is currently seeking to deliver 50GW of offshore wind power by 2030.

To do this, UK steel supply needs to rise by a fifth between 2025 and 2027, the report said.

An additional 3.8 million metric tons, equal to 23% of the UK's annual steel production, will therefore be needed within the period, the group explained.

"It is imperative that UK industry and government collaborate to ensure a steady supply of steel that can meet the predicted demand peaks as industry flexes to meet the 50GW target," said Newton partner, Dan Parker.

The consultancy report comes after manufacturer Tata Steel announced plans to close two blast coal powered furnaces in Port Talbot, South Wales.

Earlier this year, the firm said that it would replace the current systems with a greener electric arc furnace.

The furnace makes steel from scrap metal, instead of working from scratch.

As blast furnaces run using imported ore and coal, some say the new technology could improve the UK's energy security.

On the other hand, other experts say that the electric model will struggle to match the output of the current furnaces, making the UK more dependent on foreign steel.

At a time when several nations are already heavily reliant on the material for their green transitions, this could lead to a price spike.

Industry analysts have also suggested that, in order to make particular types of steel, the greener plant may have to rely on imported pure iron or virgin steel.

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