The U.K. offshore wind pipeline has surpassed 50 gigawatts with the latest award of seabed rights revealed on Monday. The Crown Estate, which manages the leasing process in England and Wales, has handed out extensions to a raft of existing projects that could accommodate a further 2.8 GW of power generation. The U.K. government is targeting 40 GW of installed capacity by 2030, with 10 GW already operational. Offshore wind will make a major contribution to its economywide 2050 net-zero target. In the first half of 2020, offshore wind provided 14 percent of the U.K.’s electricity, compared to 12 percent for onshore wind. Coal was down to 2.4 percent. There are currently two live seabed leasing rounds: Round 4 in England and Wales (7 GW), and the 10 GW ScotWind tender (PDF) in Scotland. In total that’s 17 GW of potential generation capacity currently up for grabs. These are almost certainly the final leasing rounds for projects that could contribute to the government’s existing target. Between ScotWind and the existing portfolio, there is now 50 GW worth of opportunities being developed up and down the country’s coast, according to the Crown Estate. The U.K. has the most ambitious offshore wind target in Europe, double that of Germany, helped by its vast coastlines and shallow waters. The existing 50 GW pipeline will need to deliver up another 30 GW of capacity to build on the 10 GW already in operation and hit its target. Beyond 2030, the government is consulting on other marine energy technologies, notably tidal stream and floating offshore wind. It’s looking to design support and a route to market to maximize each technology’s cost-reduction path and deployment potential. The U.K. is looking to add floating projects to its installed base in the years ahead in addition to the traditional bottom-fixed technology. The ScotWind seabed tender is the first to designate space for floating wind projects.
GTM 29th Sept 2020 read more »