New report highlights UK's massive offshore wind energy potential

A report published today shows that the UK can expand its world-beating offshore wind capacity to almost five times its current level by 2030, and that the nation has the most economically attractive offshore wind resources in Europe.

The new study, “Unleashing Europe’s Offshore Wind Potential” by independent consultants BVG Associates, demonstrates that a total capacity of at least 25 gigawatts (GW) can be installed in UK waters by the end of the next decade – enough to power more than 20 million homes, which is 75% of all households in the UK.

This would retain the UK’s global lead in offshore wind, as the report states that Germany would remain in second place with 14GW by 2030.

The report says this can be achieved using larger offshore wind turbines, each with a capacity of 13GW (the largest currently are 8GW). It also envisages an expansion in the market for floating offshore wind farms, in addition to projects with traditional foundations.

The study also shows that the UK has by far the most economically attractive offshore wind resources for development by 2030 anywhere in Europe; nearly three times better than Denmark which is in second place.

RenewableUK’s Executive Director, Emma Pinchbeck, said: “This report shows what our innovative offshore wind industry can deliver in the years ahead, securing economic growth and cheaper electricity. The Government can help us by continuing to hold fiercely competitive auctions for financial support, as well as putting offshore wind at the heart of its upcoming Industrial Strategy. Clear, bold, modern energy policy will attract billions of pounds of investment”.

The report was commissioned by the trade body WindEurope, to coincide with the first day of the world’s biggest offshore wind energy conference, Offshore Wind Energy 2017 at ExCeL in London, which is being co-hosted by RenewableUK.

Giles Dickson, CEO WindEurope said: “The report confirms that the cost reduction seen in offshore wind over the last two years could translate into significant volumes of clean, competitive and reliable power for the UK by 2030. The UK should factor this into their long-term energy planning. We need to see a deployment of at least 4 GW per year in Europe for offshore wind to maintain its cost reduction trend. This would allow offshore wind to be competitive with conventional power before very long.”