New figures from the Renewable UK Offshore Wind Project show that the UK has retained the top spot as the largest offshore wind market in the world with a portfolio of 35.2GW.
This is followed by Germany (23.4GW), Taiwan (8.3GW), China (7.7GW) and the USA (7.5GW) rounds out the top five. These countries share just under 80% of the global market.
The latest figures do not include possible extensions of existing wind farms totalling nearly 3GW recently announced by the Crown Estates – which could push the UK even further ahead when they are confirmed next summer.
The UK held its global number one position in a year which saw auctions for new power contracts (Contracts for Difference) secure offshore wind at half the price of auctions in 2015, making new offshore wind cheaper than new gas and nuclear power plants.
Renewable UK chief executive Hugh McNeal commented: “Our industry is already delivering for the UK and we want to go further, with offshore wind as the backbone of a clean, reliable and affordable energy system.
“To achieve this ambition, the industry will invest tens of billions of pounds, creating thousands of skilled jobs and supporting prosperous communities across the UK.”
A Scottish Power spokesman added: ““The UK continues to lead the world in offshore wind, and the industry here is in a strong position to capitalise on export opportunities in growing markets across the globe.
“We have the skills, knowledge and expertise that other markets need.”
However, the number of new solar power installations in the UK halved in 2017 for the second year in a row as the fallout of government subsidy cuts continued to shake the sector.
New solar capacity was just 0.95GW in 2017, down from 1.97GW in 2016 and 4.1GW in 2015.
The number of new UK solar installations was so low that it caused EU solar growth to flatline, while record amounts of new solar were added worldwide.
Labour MP Rebecca Long-Bailey, the shadow business secretary, said: “Tory policies on solar including dramatic cuts to feed-in tariff subsidies, business and VAT rate hikes, and obstruction to clean power auctions have held back one of the cleanest, cheapest forms of energy.”
Meanwhile, new analysis of the future of the global electricity system by Bloomberg NEF finds that wind and solar are set to surge to 50% of world generation by 2050.
Seb Henbest, the lead author of the outlook, said: “The arrival of cheap battery storage will mean that it becomes increasingly possible to finesse the delivery of electricity from wind and solar, so that these technologies can help meet demand even when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining.
“The result will be renewables eating up more and more of the existing market for coal, gas and nuclear energy.”
21 Jun 2018