The UK offshore wind industry

The UK has been the world leader in offshore wind since October 2008, with as much capacity already installed as the rest of the world combined.

 

Offshore wind energy figures

22 Projects, 1,075 Turbines, 3.6GW of installed Offshore Capacity

The current total offshore generating capacity in UK waters provides the enough energy to power of around 2 million homes.

In addition to the capacity already installed a further 5.7GW is either in construction or has planning approval, and a further 12.3GW is in the planning system.

Industry projections see a total of around 8GW of capacity installed by 2016 and around 18GW installed by 2020, by which point offshore wind will supply between 18 and 20 per cent of the UK’s electricity annually.

Employment growth in the sector has been substantial since the numbers were first sourced in 2008 and now stands at around 6,830 full time employees. By 2020 it is anticipated that as many as 40,000 jobs will be created within, or in support of, the offshore wind industry.

 

Development rounds

UK Offshore wind can be broken into 3 development “Rounds” which are co-ordinated by the Crown Estate who are the landlord and owner of the seabed.

Round 1 was launched in 2001 and is now almost complete. It involved 18 sites in England and Wales waters, and added a potential capacity of 1.5GW.

In 2003, the much larger Round 2 was issued, located further offshore and in deeper waters. It was formed of the three strategic areas; Greater Wash, Greater Thames and Irish Sea and when complete Round 2 will add another 7GW of capacity.

Round 2 includes the development of the Westermost Rough site, currently in the 1st phases of development, which lies off the Yorkshire Coast.

Round 3, released in 2010 is the biggest so far and features nine zones across the UK. Round 3 includes two major sites off the Yorkshire coast, the Hornsea site and the largest development of all the Dogger Bank, which has the potential to generate up to 13GW of power and is one of the largest energy projects anywhere in the world.