UK Government, offshore wind sector deal to boost capacity

EPA/MAURITZ ANTIN/FILE PICTURE

The Sheringham Shoal wind farm installations, located between 17 to 23 kilometres off the coast of Norfolk in Britain.

Offshore wind to provide 30% of UK’s electricity


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A partnership between the UK Government and the offshore wind industry announced on March 4 will mean that Britain will get 30% of its electricity from offshore wind by 2030. The new offshore Sector Deal sets the groundwork for a huge boost in offshore wind capacity in the UK.

The offshore wind industry is to invest £250 million (€291 million) in the UK supply chain, the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said March 7. The agreement will boost the sector, including through a new Offshore Wind Growth Partnership.

According to WindEurope, the sector deal will set offshore wind capacity on course to reach 30 GW by 2030, up from today’s 8 GW. Offshore wind would then provide a third of the country’s electricity, meaning the UK would produce more power from renewables than fossil sources.

The agreement also details plans to triple the number of skilled jobs in the sector to 27,000 including a target of 33% of women employees by 2030.

The UK Government also agreed to hold offshore wind auctions every two years with a support pot of £557 million (€648 million).

The BEIS expressed its wish to promote offshore wind as a major export to emerging offshore wind sectors around the world, including a £4 million (€4.6 million) technical assistance programme to help countries like Indonesia, Vietnam, Pakistan and the Philippines gain a foothold in offshore.

“The UK Sector Deal will deliver an enormous boost to offshore wind in the UK, with capacity set to almost quadruple in a decade,” WindEurope Director for Public Affairs Iván Pineda said, adding that offshore will become the backbone of the UK’s electricity system, provide a third of the UK’s power needs by 2030.

“This move will consolidate the UK as the largest European market for offshore wind by 2030, making it the second largest globally behind China. And it will spur a rise in employment too,” Pineda said, adding: “The UK’s model of providing two-sided Contracts for Difference and giving grid connection responsibility to developers is also proving successful. The Sector Deal’s not only a great example for the visibility it gives on future offshore wind volumes, but also for the model of government and industry collaboration that it provides with the government committing to volumes and industry to funding the required innovation. This model could and should be replicated elsewhere.”

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