Offshore wind power capacity “could get 10 times bigger” to help stop UK emissions

2nd May 2019 | Commercial Energy

An almost tenfold increase in offshore wind power could be required to help the UK achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The massive jump from 8GW today to 75GW in 31 years’ time would require roughly 7,500 turbines, said the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) in its new report for the government. The expanded capacity could reportedly fit within 1-2% of the UK seabed, “comparable” to the area already leased for wind power by seabed managers the Crown Estate.

New technology such as floating installations could also help generate in previously untapped areas, while conventional wind turbines grow bigger and bigger to ma. LM Wind Power and GE recently unveiled a 107m blade, which will be used on 12MW turbines. Employment in the sector is set to more than double by 2030, said Benj Sykes, chairman of the Offshore Wind Industry Council and Ørsted UK offshore manager.

Wind Power

“In any scenario, offshore wind will be the backbone of the future electricity system,” he said. “The ground-breaking offshore wind Sector Deal means at least one-third of the UK’s electricity will come from offshore wind by 2030. But today’s report says that if the UK is to achieve a net-zero carbon economy we can go much further. The CC is suggesting a tenfold increase in offshore wind capacity by 2050. This is a clear signal to industry and government to aim high when it comes to our renewable energy supply. That’s good news for consumers as offshore wind is one of the lowest cost power sources we have, and good news for jobs in the UK.”

The report, requested by the UK, Scottish and Welsh governments following the IPCC’s special report last year, said the foundations are in place to “deliver key pillars of a net-zero economy”. These include “low-carbon electricity (which will need to quadruple by 2050), efficient buildings and low-carbon heating (required throughout the UK’s building stock), electric vehicles (which should be the only option from 2035 or earlier), developing carbon capture and storage technology and low-carbon hydrogen (which are a necessity not an option), stopping biodegradable waste going to landfill, phasing-out potent fluorinated gases, increasing tree planting, and measures to reduce emissions on farms.”

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