The UK government is backing offshore wind energy in a big way. Putting the fastest-growing energy source at the centre of its 10-point plan for a ‘green industrial revolution’ and pledging to transform the UK into the ‘Saudi Arabia of wind’. To get there, it plans to quadruple current offshore capacity to 40 gigawatts (GW) by 2030.
The UK is already home to seven of the world’s 10 biggest offshore wind sites. And has over a third of the global capacity installed (10,415.420MW, according to the UK Wind Energy Database1), with the renewable energy generating more than 10% of the country’s electricity requirements in 20202.
As the gustiest country in Europe, the UK is an ideal location to harness the power of wind. In the last decade, onshore wind turbines have become a common sight in the UK, dotted along hills, fields and even beside motorways. But for the next decade, it’s the incredible generating power of offshore wind turbines that’s really set to take off.
Scientists and engineers have always known that the wind out to sea is worth harnessing. Offshore, the wind is stronger, more powerful and consistent, meaning it can generate more power. But until recently, the technology has not been in place to make it cost-effective.
Offshore wind, once relatively expensive compared to onshore wind or solar, has seen a sharp reduction in capital costs (in 2020, around 65% lower than UK projects in 20153), thanks in part to the use of much larger turbines and technological advances, such as development of lithium-ion batteries, an essential element in ensuring continuity of supply from weather-dependent sources.
The UK isn’t the only country with full-blown wind energy plans. Across the world, offshore wind keeps growing, with capacity set to expand by 13% each year over the next two decades, rising to as much 560GW by 20404.
So, as the world seeks to get to net zero emissions, one answer is clearly blowing in the wind.
With our partner EnBW, we've been selected as preferred bidder for two highly-advantaged UK offshore wind leases with potential generation capacity of 3GW. The projects are expected to be operational in seven years, powering more than 3.4 million UK homes with clean energy