Record year for UK offshore wind capacity
The UK installed a record-breaking amount of new offshore wind capacity over 2018, with growth in the sector set to attract billions in investment and create thousands of jobs.
The findings from RenewableUK shows that more than 2,121 megawatts (MW) of offshore wind capacity went operational over this year, nearly double the previous record of 1,154MW installed in 2012
This would generate enough energy to power 2.3 million homes annually, with eight offshore wind farms officially opened in UK waters, including the world’s largest, and the first ever floating wind farm.
RenewableUK said that offshore wind could generate more than a third of the UK’s energy needs by 2030, with approximately 20 gigawatts (GW) up and running.
The association’s executive director, Emma Pinchbeck, added that this would attract as much as £48bn in investment and employ around 27,000 people in highly skilled jobs.
“We’re thrilled that we’ve absolutely smashed previous records and installed more new offshore wind power stations than ever before,” she continued.
“Offshore wind has brought the UK jobs, lower bills and renewable energy. It’s offering even more to the UK in the anticipated Offshore Wind Sector Deal, which the government has said it wants to finalise by Christmas.”
The near-doubling of new capacity installed in the UK this year was achieved with just 18% more turbines than were installed in 2012, which RenewableUK said underlines the “impressive growth” in turbine power.
Since 2012, the average capacity of an offshore turbine has grown over 50% from 3.7MW to 5.8MW this year.
This comes after GE Renewable Energy unveiled plans to develop the world’s largest and most powerful offshore wind turbine, generating enough power for up to 16,000 European households every year.
The Haliade-X will produce 45% more energy than any other offshore turbine available today, and feature a 220-meter rotor with blades longer than the size of a professional football field.
It will tower 260 meters above the sea – more than five times the size of the Arc de Triomphe – and include a 12 MW direct drive generator producing 67 GWh annually.
CEO, Jérôme Pécresse, said: “It took more than 20 years to install the first 17 GW of offshore wind. Today, the renewables industry forecasts it will install more than 90 GW over the next 12 years.”
“The Haliade-X shows GE's commitment to the offshore wind segment and will set a new benchmark for cost of electricity, thus driving more offshore growth."
Image credit: iStock
Chris Seekings is a reporter for TRANSFORM