Climate Action

2017 was a ‘milestone year’ for the UK’s offshore wind sector

The UK’s offshore wind industry had one of its most successful years on record in 2017, according to the company which leases the country’s seabed.

  • 18 April 2018
  • Adam Wentworth

The UK’s offshore wind industry had one of its most successful years on record in 2017, according to the company which leases the country’s seabed.

The Crown Estate, a remnant of the lands owned by the Royal Family, has just released its operational report covering the sector’s activities over the past year.

It details how offshore wind has made significant progress in cost reduction, investment, and clean energy generation.

6.2 percent of all the UK's electricity was supplied by turbines at 33 operational offshore wind farms, up from 5 percent the year before. This is enough power to supply 5.3 million homes in the country, or, put another way, the equivalent of supplying 91 percent of domestic homes in the UK’s top 10 cities, including London, Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow.

This power also helped reduce carbon emissions by 8.6 million tonnes.

A further eight offshore wind farms currently being built will ensure the industry reaches its target of 10 percent electricity generation by 2020. Construction has continued apace in 2017 with an average of one turbine per day being installed in UK waters.

Low prices were also set during an auction for government contracts in September 2017; new projects coming forward are 47 percent cheaper than they were three years ago.

2017 also saw new investors entering the market, indicating offshore wind’s attractiveness among heavyweights within the financial sector. Legal and General, for example, issued its first debt financing; major Danish pension funds PKA and PFA also purchased a stake in a wind farm worth £2 billion.

Huub den Rooijen, Director of Energy, Minerals & Infrastructure at The Crown Estate said: “2017 has been a milestone year for the UK offshore wind sector, the busiest yet for construction, and delivering more electricity than ever before. This latest report showcases an increasingly mature sector, delivering large-scale, low-carbon power, with record low bid prices for future projects, making the most of the UK’s world-class seabed resources and creating jobs opportunities across the country.”

Source: The Crown Estate

 

Photo Credit: MHI Vestas Offshore Wind