A new report published by Renewable UK has revealed that the total pipeline of global offshore wind projects has grown by 47% since January.
According to offshorewind.biz, the report shows the despite the coronavirus pandemic, the total capacity of offshore wind projects which are either operational, under construction, consented, in planning or development currently stands at 197.4GW, which is up from 134.7GW in mid-January.
Over half of these projects are based in Europe, and the UK holds on to the top spot with a total pipeline of 41.3GW, which is up 12 per cent from the beginning of the year.
There was also a significant increase from China, moving from fourth to second place with an 80 per cent increase since January.
However, Germany fell from second to sixth place due to a 29 per cent decrease in its pipeline from 16.5GW to 11.7GW in October.
The UK still has the most operational capacity, with 10.5GW, Germany follows in second place with 7.7GW, China third with 4.6GW, then Belgium and Denmark in fourth and fifth place with 1.8GW and 1.7GW respectively.
RenewableUK’s Deputy Chief Executive Melanie Onn commented: “The global appetite to develop new offshore wind projects remains enormous, despite the pandemic this year, as this research proves.
“The UK and many other countries are counting on the rapid growth of the offshore wind sector to be a key driver in the worldwide green economic recovery.”
She added that the UK remains the biggest market for offshore wind globally, and is set to quadruple its capacity over the next decade, following on from Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s landmark commitment to power every UK home with offshore wind by 2030.
Onn added that the UK offshore wind industry will continue to provide clean, low-cost power, as well as revitalise coastal communities, grow the UK supply chain and export offshore wind goods and services around the world, as the country’s expertise is unrivalled and in demand around the world.
The UK’s previously ambitious goal to double its capacity by 2030 will have been achieved by 2026, analysis from independent energy research and business intelligence company Rystad Energy has revealed.
The total installed capacity of both solar and wind energy production will climb from today’s 31.3GW to 64GW in 2026, and offshore wind will become the dominant green energy source in the UK.
The current 10.5GW of installed offshore wind capacity will rise to 27.5GW in 2026, meaning it will outstrip onshore wind, which will drop to second place with 24.3GW, up from its current 13.5GW. There will also be an increase, albeit slower, in solar capacity, from today’s 8.9GW to 12.3GW in 2021.
While offshore wind capacity will continue to rise after 2026 and reach nearly 40 GW by the end of the decade, onshore wind’s growth is projected to stall.
“The expected rapid deployment of offshore wind will require a substantial increase in the size of turbines, which implies a need for major expansion of UK manufacturing capacity,” says Gero Farruggio, Head of Renewables at Rystad Energy.
“The government’s recent launch of a new scheme to bolster large-scale portside manufacturing hubs, involving financial support to also strengthen offshore wind manufacturing capability, will assist this transition.”
There has been a drastic growth in offshore wind, mainly through the Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme. The strike prices for offshore wind hit a record low of $51.54 per MWh in September 2019, 30 per cent below the lowest strike price registered in the 2017 auction.
There have been challenges in the form of tax increases and the closure of subsidies for major solar PV projects, which have impeded further development of renewable energy projects in the UK.
However, several policy changes are tabled for the next few years which could help the solar sector reach its ambitious targets by 2030.
Policy measures like tax exemptions for renewable electricity projects have been driving the growth in UK renewables.
The UK has also offered several incentive schemes that have played a crucial role in supporting the accelerated deployment of commercial and small-scale renewable capacity, including its renewables obligation (RO) and feed-in tariffs (FITs) schemes, which ended in 2019.
Earlier in 2020, the FIT system was replaced by the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) scheme, offering tariffs for renewable energy supplied to the National Grid. To boost UK solar PV capacity, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy plans to include solar PV in next year’s CfD auction.
Storage is currently excluded from the CfD bidding process and facilities must be metered separately.
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An emergency response team for offshore operations is likely to comprise of offshore working teams, marine coordinators, health and safety personnel, advanced first aiders, fire marshals and senior management. These responders must hold the expertise, competency and confidence to respond to any incident as and when it occurs.
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