The latest figures from Cornwall Insight’s ‘Renewables pipeline tracker report’ show that even if all current offshore wind sites with leasing are developed in the coming years, total offshore wind capacity in the UK would only reach 29.7GW by 2030. The report currently tracks 22 sites across both floating and fixed foundation technologies, with many sites looking to progress through the upcoming Contracts for Difference (CfD) Allocation Round 4.
Lucy Dolton, Analyst at Cornwall Insight, commented: “Assuming all prospective sites with seabed leasing are built, the current pipeline will fall well short of the ‘40 GW by 2030’ target recently reiterated by government. In fact, this would start falling by the end of the decade as the earliest offshore wind sites under the Renewables Obligation start to reach the end of their economic life.
“Increasing the pipeline of prospective offshore wind sites is, therefore, a priority if we are to reach the 40 GW ambition and critical to the pipeline will be upcoming seabed leasing rounds in 2021. Both the ScotWind and Crown Estate Leasing rounds will be the first of their kind in a decade and as such will be highly indicative of the magnitude of development that has occurred in offshore wind within this time frame.
“The 8 GW-10 GW ScotWind Leasing round is due to open in early 2021. Also expected early next year is the bidding stage of the Crown Estate’s Offshore Wind Leasing Round 4, set to create the opportunity for “at least 7GW” of new projects.
“Signs are promising following prime minister Boris Johnson’s announcement of his Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution. The Energy White Paper is due to outline further details for offshore wind support in the coming weeks. Alongside this, the Scottish government announced on 28 October that it will aim for 11GW of offshore wind by 2030.
“Our analysis has also shown how projects are now building in deeper water further from shore to take advantage of greater load factors and also utilise new turbine technologies. No doubt, future offshore wind sites will likely continue to develop in this way in the pursuit of ever-cheaper costs and increased competition through the CfD scheme.
“However, it will still be a major task for the sector to plan, develop and deliver a further 10 GW of offshore wind projects on top of the existing pipeline by 2030.”