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Offshore wind ‘will do heavy lifting in energy transition’ as UK pipeline jumps 60%

Professional Engineering

The UK's total 'pipeline' of offshore wind projects has jumped 60% over the last 12 months (Credit: Shutterstock)
The UK's total 'pipeline' of offshore wind projects has jumped 60% over the last 12 months (Credit: Shutterstock)

Offshore wind “will be doing the heavy lifting” as the UK secures clean, home-grown energy supplies and moves away from fossil fuel imports, according to the head of a renewable energy trade association.

The country’s total ‘pipeline’ of offshore wind projects – including projects that are operational, under construction, consented, in the planning system or being developed for planning submission – has jumped 60% over the last 12 months, according to RenewableUK.

The news will be welcomed by government ministers seeking to reduce reliance on imported gas from Russia, and by those who believe the government should move further and faster away from new extraction or purchasing of fossil fuels.

“It’s clear that offshore wind will be doing the heavy lifting as we secure our clean home-grown energy supplies and move faster towards independence from unstable fossil fuel imports,” said RenewableUK chief executive Dan McGrail.

The pipeline now stands at 86GW, more than eight-times the current operational capacity. The huge increase in the last year was mainly driven by massive leasing round announcements by the Crown Estate (8GW) and Crown Estate Scotland (25GW), which notably consisted of as-yet relatively underdeveloped floating wind farms.

The statistics, compiled for RenewableUK’s latest EnergyPulse report, show that the total global offshore wind pipeline has reached 517GW. 

China (24GW) now has more fully operational capacity than the UK (10.5GW), but the UK’s total pipeline of 86GW is bigger than China’s 75GW. The USA is in third place with 48GW in the pipeline.

“Our latest EnergyPulse report shows that the UK’s world class offshore wind industry has taken huge strides forward in the past 12 months, with landmark leasing announcements adding an extra 33GW to our pipeline, and funding for floating wind ringfenced in the current CfD (contract for difference) auction to help accelerate the growth of innovative technology,” said McGrail.

“The global offshore wind market is also continuing to grow at a phenomenal rate, with an extra 200GW added to the pipeline over the last year. As the UK was an early mover in offshore wind, we’re in a prime position to capitalise on our expertise as a market leader, which is highly sought after worldwide”. 

The report also analysed data on major components of UK offshore wind farms, such as turbines, cables and substations. This showed that the average turbine capacity will increase from 8-9MW this year to 14-15MW by 2025. This would require more UK factories, which will also need to be larger, creating new supply chain opportunities.

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Content published by Professional Engineering does not necessarily represent the views of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.


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