Offshore wind can hit FIVE times current capacity - new report reveals

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 6 Jun 2017

A NEW report, published today, shows that the UK can expand its world-beating offshore wind capacity to almost five times its current level by 2030, and that the nation has the most economically attractive offshore wind resources in Europe.

The new study, Unleashing Europe’s Offshore Wind Potential, demonstrates that a total capacity of at least 25 gigawatts (GW) can be installed in UK waters by the end of the next decade – enough to power more than 20 million homes, which is 75 per cent of all households in the UK.

This would retain the UK’s global lead in offshore wind, as the report - by independent consultants BVG Associates - states that Germany would remain in second place with 14GW by 2030.

It is a huge boost to the aspirations already documented in North East Lincolnshire, with Grimsby described as “the poster child for the development of the industrial opportunities that this industry can bring” by seabed lease provider The Crown Estate - from which all potential derives.  

It is well on the way to controlling 5.5GW, and in fact 2032 is a date firmly fixed in the Municipal Offices for the Humber’s first port to emerge as the offshore wind capital of the UK – and therefore the world.

Angela Blake, pictured left, director of economy and growth at North East Lincolnshire Council, is encouraged by the findings. She said: “We have an established and growing base for wind power providers in Grimsby, and those operating long term maintenance of offshore wind power facilities. This report suggests that there’s capacity for growth around the UK, and we’re open to talking to existing and new organisations about our facilities and what we can offer in North East Lincolnshire.”

The figure can be achieved using larger offshore wind turbines, each with a capacity of 13GW (the largest currently are 8GW). It also envisages an expansion in the market for floating offshore wind farms, in addition to projects with traditional foundations, like those built out of Grimsby and the Humber now. 

The study also shows that the UK has by far the most economically attractive offshore wind resources for development by 2030 anywhere in Europe; nearly three times better than Denmark which is in second place.

​RenewableUK’s executive director, Emma Pinchbeck, pictured right, said: “This report shows what our innovative offshore wind industry can deliver in the years ahead, securing economic growth and cheaper electricity. The Government can help us by continuing to hold fiercely competitive auctions for financial support, as well as putting offshore wind at the heart of its upcoming Industrial Strategy. Clear, bold, modern energy policy will attract billions of pounds of investment."  

The report was commissioned by the trade body WindEurope, to coincide with the first day of the world’s biggest offshore wind energy conference, Offshore Wind Energy 2017 at ExCeL in London, which is being co-hosted by RenewableUK.

Giles Dickson, chief executive of WindEurope said: “The report confirms that the cost reduction seen in offshore wind over the last two years could translate into significant volumes of clean, competitive and reliable power for the UK by 2030. The UK should factor this into their long-term energy planning. We need to see a deployment of at least 4 GW per year in Europe for offshore wind to maintain its cost reduction trend. This would allow offshore wind to be competitive with conventional power before very long.”

It will be well received in the Humber, with Siemens' blade factory and the proposals for more wind farms to be served from the area, with further Hornsea phases (on top of the looming world leading Hornsea One) and Dogger Bank known potential. 

As reported, Team Humber Marine Alliance and Grimsby Renewables Partnership are represented at the ExCeL event.

It came as MHI Vestas, the company behind the Humber Gateway technology on the E.on site, pushes the boundaries of offshore wind again, launching the V164-9.5 MW wind turbine at the event. It is strongly tipped to be the supplier of choice for Triton Knoll offshore wind farm, the 900MW proposal off the Lincolnshire coast currently awaiting CfD auction results. 

ADVANCE: The V164 platform. Blades, tower, and nacelle dimensions are unchanged from the 9MW to 9.5 MW. 

The most powerful serially-produced wind turbine in the world, the V164 platform’s massive 80-metre blades are already capturing wind energy off the coast of the UK like no other turbine in history, giving the company volumes of real-time data and valuable experience that is already paying dividends.

Jens Tommerup, chief executive of MHI Vestas, said: “As a leader in the offshore wind industry, we are committed to lowering the cost of energy through innovative turbine technology. The launch of our V164-9.5 MW turbine is a testament to that leadership and to the ingenuity of our engineers and technicians. Just one single turbine is now capable of powering more than 8,300 UK homes.”

At noon today, (Tuesday, June 6) wind was generating more than 17 per cent of the UK's electricity.

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