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UK offshore wind industry enters new phase of sustainable growth

4C Offshore | Chloe Emanuel
By: Chloe Emanuel 01/05/2024 The Crown Estate

In a recent report by The Crown Estate, the UK offshore wind industry is poised for accelerated, sustainable growth, buoyed by new strategies and commitments introduced in 2023.

The report underscores the remarkable success of offshore wind in the UK, now the world's second-largest market in the sector, boasting over 40% of European offshore wind capacity. The pipeline for offshore wind expanded by 10 GW in 2023, reaching 9 3GW, while the sector generated 49 TWh of electricity last year, sufficient to power 50% of UK homes.

However, despite these strides, projections suggest that by 2050, around 125 GW might be necessary to achieve net zero emissions. Meeting this target in an increasingly complex marine environment demands a coordinated approach to seabed management and transmission infrastructure delivery, balancing growth with environmental considerations and the needs of other seabed users.

The Crown Estate, tasked with creating long-term value for the country, aims to catalyse net zero, restore nature, foster thriving communities, and drive economic growth. The careful management of the seabed is pivotal in realising these ambitions, as outlined in the UK Offshore Wind Report.

Key Highlights from the 2023 Report:

- A record-breaking 49TWh of green electricity was generated by offshore wind, enough to power half of UK households.
- UK offshore wind now contributes 17% to the total electricity generated in the country, up from 14% in 2022.
- UK waters host 43% of all European offshore wind capacity.
- Scotland's largest offshore wind farm, Seagreen, achieved full operational status.
- Construction began on Dogger Bank, set to become the world's largest offshore wind farm.
- The 2023 offshore wind output saved the equivalent of 18.5 million tonnes of CO2 emissions.

New Approaches Driving Growth:

The report highlights several milestones in 2023 aimed at fostering sustainable and coordinated growth in the sector:

- The Crown Estate's Whole of Seabed Programme, pioneering digital mapping of seabed space to meet future demand.
- Development of a Marine Delivery Route map to plan seabed management in alignment with nature recovery, job creation, and net zero goals.
- The Supply Chain Accelerator fund, with a £10 million pilot to support supply chain opportunities in the Celtic Sea.
- Collaboration with the Electricity System Operator to plan grid connections and meet 2035 targets.
- Clear expectations set in Offshore Wind Leasing Round 5 to deliver broader social, environmental, and economic benefits.
- Reduction of time between leasing rounds to expedite sector growth.
- Commitment from the UK Government to modernise The Crown Estate's investment powers to accelerate sustainable deployment.

Gus Jaspert, Managing Director, Marine, The Crown Estate, emphasised the pivotal year 2023 represented for the offshore wind sector, noting significant progress despite economic challenges. He highlighted the industry's evolving approach to growth, focusing on collaboration, evidence-based planning, and resolving systemic issues to achieve nature recovery, job creation, and net zero emissions. The UK Offshore Wind Report provides a comprehensive overview of data and metrics relevant to the sector's development.

For more information about offshore wind farm projects across the globe, click here.


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