A new industry report shows that the UK can expand its world-beating offshore wind capacity to almost five times its current level by 2030, and that the nation has the most economically attractive offshore wind resources in Europe.
The study by independent consultants BVG Associates demonstrates that a total capacity of at least 25 gigawatts (GW) can be installed in UK waters by the end of the next decade – enough to power more than 20 million homes, which is 75% of all households in the UK.
This would retain the UK’s global lead in offshore wind, while Germany would remain in second place with 14GW by 2030.
The report says this can be achieved using larger offshore wind turbines, each with a capacity of 13GW (the largest currently are 8GW). It also envisages an expansion in the market for floating offshore wind farms, in addition to projects with traditional foundations.
The study also shows that the UK has by far the most economically attractive offshore wind resources for development by 2030 anywhere in Europe; nearly three times better than Denmark which is in second place.
The cost of UK offshore wind power has plunged fallen by 32% between 2012 and 2016, due to technological innovations and greater volumes of deployment in British waters, as well as competitive auctions.
The UK currently has 5,355MW of operational offshore wind capacity – more than any other country.
The report was commissioned by the trade body WindEurope, where chief executive Giles Dickson, commented: “This study confirms that the cost reduction seen in offshore wind over the last two years could translate into significant volumes of clean, competitive and reliable power for the UK by 2030.
“The UK should factor this into their long-term energy planning. We need to see a deployment of at least 4 GW per year in Europe for offshore wind to maintain its cost reduction trend. This would allow offshore wind to be competitive with conventional power before very long.”