RenewableUK has published a report highlighting opportunities for UK companies to secure multi-million pound contracts in the fast-growing global market for manufacturing and installing offshore wind cables.

The report is being published ahead of RenewableUK’s Cables 2018 conference in Aberdeen on October 31 and highlights the increasingly important role that power cables will play in the energy system as offshore wind becomes a major global power source. 

The new document “Offshore Wind Cable Manufacturing and Installation Forecast 2018-2028” is the first of its kind to offer global, regional and national market forecasts, including details of when and where contracts for array and export cables will be coming up. It also includes profiles of leading companies working in the sector, including the thriving supply chain, many of which are based in the UK, supplying projects here and around the world.

The UK is expected to be the biggest cable market globally between 2018 and 2028, worth £3.64 billion, with more than 19GW of capacity due to be installed, requiring over 9,300km of cabling – equivalent to the distance from London to Tokyo. China is expected to need 6,550km and Germany more than 4,400km over the next 10 years. Overall, the global market for offshore wind array and export cables is forecast to be worth £13.6bn if all the projects in the international pipeline come to fruition.


The report shows that the biggest window of opportunity is imminent - between 2019 and 2023. For example, in the UK alone, more than 3,000km of cables due to be installed in the next five years have yet to be awarded to an installation company. This is longer than the distance between John o’ Groats and Gibraltar. Contracts to manufacture over 2,400km for UK projects in that period have also yet to be signed.  

The research reveals that the annual rate of global cable installations is set to almost double in the next six years, peaking in 2024. In that year, over 4,300km of array and export cables will be installed, in contracts worth £1.7 billion. This will be driven mainly by projects in the UK, Germany, Taiwan and the USA. China, France and the Netherlands will also become significant players in the next decade. Poland and Ireland will enter the market too.

RenewableUK’s Executive Director Emma Pinchbeck said, “For the first time, companies working in the offshore wind cables sector, or those wanting to get into it, can see in detail  where the multi-million pound opportunities are in projects here and around the world. This is a great example of the industrial opportunities being created by the offshore wind industry, in which the UK has a global lead. Innovative hi-tech companies based in Britain are already reaping the rewards, and these opportunities will continue to grow in the years ahead with offshore wind becoming the backbone of our global clean energy system.”

The report includes interviews with leading figures from companies working on offshore wind farms in UK waters and around the world. These include Global Marine Group based in Chelmsford, Essex, which installs and maintains cables here and abroad, and high voltage engineering specialist EDS HV Group in Haslingden, Lancashire which designs, connects, tests and operates offshore wind projects.

The document also includes profiles of companies such as JDR Cables in Hartlepool which supplies offshore wind projects worldwide, as well as providing installation and maintenance services, and Tekmar in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, which designs and manufactures subsea cable protection systems.

The report is being launched at RenewableUK’s Cables 2018 event, the first of its kind. It brings together cable manufacturers and installers, supply chain companies, offshore wind developers, operators, insurers and policy makers.