UK offshore wind capacity needs to increase by 265% to meet 2030 targets.

The UK’s offshore wind capacity will need to increase by 265% to meet government targets. The UK Government seeks to grow offshore wind capacity from 13.7GW to 50GW by 2030.

According to technology company ABB, this will require the installation of a further 24 wind farms with an average capacity of 1.5GW over the next seven years. This would see the share of offshore wind in the UK’s energy mix jump from 18% to 62%.

Large wind farm costs could hinder development

“In order to reach the UK’s ambitious targets, we must collectively find ways to bring down the cost of developing new wind farms, speed up the planning and permitting processes, secure the supply chain and deliver network infrastructure upgrades to support the massive growth in power flows and connections to the grid,” said Per Erik Holsten, head of ABB Energy Industries for northern Europe.

Offshore wind currently powers 15.28 million UK homes annually. If targets are met, the country will have the capacity to generate power for approximately 29.98 million homes from offshore wind. The surplus will be available to export and power a further 37 million homes in neighbouring countries.

The UK Government seeks to invest in floating offshore wind, with its £160m ($201m) Floating Offshore Wind Manufacturing Investment Scheme closing for applications on 25 June. Applicants will use the funding to develop the infrastructure needed for the offshore floating wind industry.

Offshore wind could be crucial in stabilising UK energy prices

If we get this right, this could help the UK resolve the current energy pricing crisis, prevent extreme market volatility and significantly grow the UK’s export capability, all the while delivering a cleaner form of electricity to industry and consumers. The UK Government’s Powering Up Britain policy, announced in March 2023, seeks to increase the deployment of offshore wind to increase energy security and reach net-zero targets.

Electricity generated from wind currently accounts for 32.4% of the UK’s overall energy generation. Generation from wind outpaced generation from gas in the UK for the first time in March this year.

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