Offshore wind targets ‘must increase to hit Net Zero’ says BEIS

The offshore wind industry will have to be “more ambitious” and aim for higher deployment as a major contributor to allowing the UK to achieve its Net Zero target for 2050, according to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

The comment came in an update on progress in the Offshore Wind Sector Deal, signed in March 2019.

A year ago BEIS said that offshore wind is expected to consitute 10% of UK generation by 2020 . The sector deal anticipated that, subject to costs coming down, it could see offshore wind contributing up to 30GW of generating capacity by 2030 – remaining a global leader in a sector that is expected to have a capacity of over 154GW by that date – and the government has already set a further ambition of 40GW. In fact since the Sector Deal was signed in March 2019, costs  have continued to fall. The 2019 Contract for Difference auction saw 5.5GW of new offshore wind capacity come forward at prices of £39.65/MWh and £41.61/MWh (2012 prices) – around 65% lower than projects in the 2015 auction. These projects are expected to be operational around 2023 to 2025.

Meanwhile a £100 million Offshore Wind Growth Partnership fund has been established by the sector to help raise productivity and improve supply chain competitiveness over the next 10 years.

BEIS says that offshore wind will “play a key role in helping the UK meet net zero by 2050″. Now the sector deal update says “Meeting net zero is likely to require higher volumes of offshore wind deployment than previously envisaged, to meet greater levels of electrification across the economy.” BEIS promised to “work with the sector and other stakeholders to build upon the strong foundations of this Sector Deal to accelerate sustainable deployment up to 2030. We will also work with the sector to prepare for the 2030s and 2040s, for example by enabling new innovations such as floating offshore wind and hybrid projects.”

Among other initiatives the sector and government departments met in February to discuss the environmental, consenting, licensing and regulatory barriers to more co-ordinated infrastructure. The Crown Estate has been engaging with stakeholders in the UK to define the outcomes, goals and delivery routes for a funded Strategic Enabling Actions Programme deploy more wind in a co-ordinated and sustainable way.

Read the annual report

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