COP26 president Alok Sharma has called on the UK offshore wind industry to use its “purchasing power” to accelerate Britain’s – and the world’s – transition toward net zero.

Speaking by video-link to delegates of RenewableUK’s Global Offshore Wind conference in London, Sharma – who gave up his role as UK energy secretary to focus full-time on the United Nations Climate Change Summit in Glasgow in November – said the the sector’s “story of success” should be communicated to “international partners… to unlock the potential of offshore wind to decarbonise their power supplies”.

“We’ve grown the largest offshore wind sector in the world, creating entirely new industrial hubs and good green jobs, which is helping us to reach net zero by 2050,” he said.

“I urge all companies here to support our wider COP26 efforts by driving action across your supply chains, encouraging your suppliers to commit to net zero and working with them to reduce emissions.”

“In short, use your purchasing power to drive change across the global economy, just as you’re using your inventiveness and acumen to drive the clean energy transition across the world,” said Sharma.

Greg Hands, speaking for the first time since taking over the energy and climate change ministerial role from now-business minister Kwasi Kwarteng, described the UK offshore wind sector as “the lynchpin in our efforts to reach net zero”, noting that the industry was in “prime position” in Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s ‘Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution’.

The UK has upscaled original targets of have 30GW of offshore wind power flowing into the national grid by 2030 to 40GW, though questions as to the viability of this goal remain, and with the independent Committee on Climate Change recommending 75GW be built to underpin the government’s 2050 net-zero strategy.

Investment commitments totalling over £900m ($1.2bn) have be earmarked for UK factories linked with the country’s burgeoning offshore wind sector so far this year– the largest influx of capital since the industry’s beginning over two decades ago, according to research published earlier this week by RenewableUK.