Future drivers of UK cement consumption

Future drivers of UK cement consumption
Published: 16 April 2012

Tagged Under: UK Construction Renewable Energy 

With the UK construction industry continuing to suffer from reduced private and public demand, the offshore wind industry offers considerable economic promise, according to Andrew Minson, Executive Director of Mineral Products Association (MPA) The Concrete Centre.

The growth of wind, wave and tidal industries has the potential to generate up to 120,000 jobs over the next 10 years, both directly and through the UK-based supply chain that is developing alongside it, the MPA notes. Furthermore, many of these jobs, especially those created by the offshore wind sector, will be in old industrial areas along the UK coastline which are areas that need considerable regeneration and new employment.

For example, a study by consultancy firm IPA Energy + Water Economics found that in Scotland the offshore wind energy could create 28,000 direct jobs and generate UK£1.7bn of investment over the next decade. It also suggested that an additional 20,000 jobs could be created indirectly.  Meanwhile, in Belfast, Northern Ireland, the port is being redeveloped as a hub for offshore windfarm construction at a cost of UK£50m. The work will create 150 jobs in construction, as well as requiring some 1Mt of stone from local quarries which will create hundreds of more jobs.

In addition to the work required for the redevelopment of ports and the provision of turbine manufacturing facilities, the UK concrete sector is set to benefit from the development of a range of concrete gravity foundation solutions for offshore windfarms. It has also welcomed the objective of the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) that UK firms should provide over 50 per cent of the content of future offshore windfarms.

In a statement, Mr Minson said: “In order to capitalise on the opportunities, the concrete sector, led by MPA The Concrete Centre, has established a working group to facilitate the development of a supply chain that delivers cost efficient solutions for offshore windfarms, particularly for the delivery of the concrete gravity foundations required for the next generation of larger wind turbines operating in deeper offshore locations.  Significantly, all the constituent parts for concrete gravity foundations can be locally sourced from within the UK using UK-based labour. There is no volume issue with aggregate requirements and no concerns about the capacity to deliver as the predicted maximum peak demand for cement for offshore foundations would only equate to four per cent of UK capacity.”