Technology major ABB estimates, from the results of its own analysis, that a further 24 wind farms with an average 1.5 GW capacity must become operational during the next seven years if the UK government is to meet its target to grow offshore wind power capacity from 13.7 GW to 50 GW by 2030 – a 265 % increase.
If this is achieved, the UK’s electricity supply from offshore wind will jump from 18 % to 62 %, making it possible to deliver renewable energy to every UK household, approximately 30 million homes, with a surplus available to export and power a further 37 million homes in neighbouring countries.
“In order to reach the UK’s ambitious targets, we must collectively find ways to bring down the cost of developing new wind farms, speed up the planning and permitting processes, secure the supply chain and deliver network infrastructure upgrades to support the massive growth in power flows and connections to the grid,” said Per Erik Holsten, head of ABB Energy Industries for Northern Europe.
ABB is actively involved in seven key offshore projects across the UK. Collectively they represent 9 GW of offshore wind power capacity and include the world’s largest wind farm at Dogger Bank, located more than 130 km off the northeast coast of England.
Electricity generated from wind currently accounts for almost a third (32.4%) of the UK’s total electricity generation, having overtaken gas for the first time during the first quarter of this year. At present it is also more than 50 % cheaper than electricity produced from gas.
At the end of March, the UK government announced a net zero plan called Powering Up Britain. This series of policy pledges includes accelerating the deployment of offshore wind in order to boost the country’s energy security, reduce household bills, and maintain a leading position in achieving net zero. It also includes £160 million in funding to kick start the infrastructure investment needed to deliver the increase in floating offshore wind farms.