Record year for UK wind bolstered by big north-east projects

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A record-breaking year for UK offshore wind has been bolstered by big north-east projects.

Aberdeen’s European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) and the world’s second offshore floating wind farm, the Kincardine Offshore Windfarm, have added to the UK more than two gigawatt (GW) generation mix in 2018.

Eight big UK projects were opened this year, including the 659MW Walney Extension off Cumbria, Norfolk’s Race Bank (573) and the 400MW Rampion development off the Sussex coast.

RenewableUK’s executive director Emma Pinchbeck said: “We’re thrilled that we’ve absolutely smashed previous records and installed more new offshore wind power stations than ever before.

“This is just the beginning of the great shift to renewables. By 2030, offshore wind could be generating more than a third of the UK’s entire electricity needs, with 30 gigawatts up and running. The industry would attract £48 billion in investment by the end of the next decade and employ 27,000 people in highly-skilled jobs.

“Offshore wind has brought the UK jobs, lower bills and renewable energy. It’s offering even more to the UK in the anticipated Offshore Wind Sector Deal, which the Government has said it wants to finalise by Christmas”.

The addition of these new projects brings the total new capacity in 2018 to 2,121 megawatts (MW) – nearly double the previous annual record of 1,154MW in 2012.

The number of offshore wind development is set to grow next year, with Beatrice in the Moray Firth (588MW) going fully operational.

Matthew Wright, managing director of Orsted UK, said: “The UK is making great progress in decarbonising its electricity system, smashing records in coal-free generation last year, largely thanks to a growth in renewables, and continuing the transformation this year with record growth in offshore wind.

“At Orsted, we are playing a leading role, and investing billions of pounds to help the UK reach its carbon reduction targets.

“This year, we completed construction of two major offshore wind farms, including Walney Extension, the biggest in the world, and we’re now constructing Hornsea 1 off the Yorkshire Coast which, at around double the size, will take the title in 2020.

“Rapid growth in this clean-tech industry is set to continue as we work with the Government to finalise an offshore wind sector deal, which could mean that, by 2030, one third of the UK’s electricity could come from offshore wind.”

UK annual offshore wind deployment (in MW)