The Budget on 24 March did not contain much to excite the energy sector, but notably for the sector the Chancellor announced a £2 billion government-backed green bank to provide investment in, amongst other things, offshore wind projects.
Despite the apparent fertility of the green bank, it is just not fecund enough for some. Already the funding is being denounced in some quarters as too mean in ratio to the estimated £100 billion required to finance the offshore wind dream.
Others may take the view that £2 billion is better than a poke in the eye with a red briefcase, and the funding is not restricted to offshore wind, so if offshore wind is already as bankable as some are suggesting, maybe other technologies will take the benefit.
The announcement came alongside a grant of £60 million to assist upgrade of ports to facilitate the offshore wind farm development. It is proposed that there will be an open Offshore Wind Site Development Competition, inviting bids from port authorities and project developers proposing new offshore wind manufacturing and assembly facilities.
Detailed criteria for the competition will be announced at a later date, but it has been indicated that the criteria for funding are likely to consider the projects' technical and commercial viability and their impact in terms of jobs and the wider economy. The fund may be split between two or more sites, but may also go to only one site, with Blyth being tipped as a likely recipient of the lion's share thanks to its having secured a commitment from Clipper Windpower to locate its blade manufacturing facility near the port.