UK’s Johnson sees jobs boom from floating windmills

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will seek to banish the coronavirus gloom with a vision of a prosperous future fuelled by floating windmills when he addresses his Conservative party’s annual conference Tuesday.

In a speech closing the four-day digital event, he will highlight an election pledge to quadruple the power generated by offshore wind from 10 to 40 gigawatts this decade, saying it would support 60,000 new jobs.

“Offshore wind will be powering every home in the country,” he will say, according to pre-released extracts.

He will promise £160 million ($208 million, 176 million euros) in investment for ports and factories to manufacture next-generation turbines.

“And we will not only build fixed arrays in the sea, we will build windmills that float on the sea – enough to deliver one gigawatt of energy by 2030, 15 times as much as the rest of the world put together,” he will say.

Floating turbines can harvest energy further away from the coast where the wind is stronger, thus reducing visual pollution and causing fewer problems for others using the sea such as fishermen.

Not only will the investment help Britain out of a historic recession brought on by the coronavirus crisis, it will also help the country reach its target of becoming carbon neutral by 2050, he will say.

“As Saudi Arabia is to oil, the UK is to wind – a place of almost limitless resource, but in the case of wind without the carbon emissions and without the damage to the environment.”

Britain has suffered the worst death toll in Europe from the Covid-19 outbreak, with more than 42,000 confirmed deaths, and cases are on the rise again.

But Johnson made his career out of looking on the bright side and will insist the crisis can be a catalyst for change, promising to “Build Back Greener”.

“We need to give people the chance to train for the new jobs that are being created every day — in new technologies and new ways of doing things,” he will say. (AFP)