UK to Lead Two Panel Discussions at AWEA 2012
The United Kingdom’s track record of expertise and leadership in the wind energy industry is demonstrated this week during WINDPOWER 2012, the world’s largest annual gathering of wind power professionals. The UK – the world leader in offshore wind power capacity – will lead two panel discussions, while a number of British wind companies will participate in the conference.
“The UK has developed real-world experience in offshore wind power which can be of tremendous benefit to North American companies,” said Chris Beck, UK Trade & Investment’s technology specialist. “The opportunities that exist for knowledge sharing between the North American and UK markets, such as new innovations to lower cost on both sides of the Atlantic, will benefit each region’s growth.”
While fragmented policies have impacted wind energy progress in some countries, the UK’s long-term, ambitious strategies continue to spur the UK wind industry’s growth and create dynamic business opportunities for international partners. The UK has an active, well-established local industry, complemented by strong involvement from key international players. Over the last decade, offshore wind energy has attracted £5 billion in investment in the UK and is set to exceed £50 billion by 2020. With a commitment to increase the UK’s renewable energy generation from its current 7 percent to 15 percent, the UK is one of Europe’s fastest growing renewable energy markets.
Beck will outline the UK’s expertise in wind energy technology and highlight partnership opportunities emerging in the sector during a Monday panel expected to draw industry and government representatives from around the world. Beck will also speak on a panel on Tuesday with British and American wind experts to discuss cutting-edge technologies currently being developed and how they will influence wind energy’s future growth.
“Supportive government policies coupled with an unrivaled skillset resulting from its 20 years of offshore wind experience provide the UK with the ability to facilitate wind power both at home and abroad,” said Michael Rosenfeld, UK Trade & Investment, Vice Consul – USA Clean Technology Sector Lead. “Other nations have recognized the UK’s expertise in wind power, especially in offshore wind, and are now looking to the UK for collaboration and inspiration.”
There are 568 installed offshore wind turbines in UK waters, totaling 1,858 MW and a further 665 turbines in construction, totaling 2,359 MW. The total number of operational and turbines in construction is 1,233. The UK’s current installed offshore wind capacity is greater than the rest of the world’s combined and with the advent of Round 3 projects there is a further 4,500 MW in the pipeline.
“As one of Europe’s fastest-growing renewable energy markets and global leader in wind development experience, the UK has proven to be an ideal partner in catalyzing wind industry growth throughout North America and globally,” stated Rosenfeld. “The recent publication of the UK’s draft energy bill demonstrates Britain’s commitment to tackling the twin challenges of ensuring energy security and tackling climate change, in the most cost-effective way. The bill puts into place a coherent and stable regulatory environment which is critical to investor confidence and will enable large-scale investment in low carbon generation capacity in the UK.”
On May 22, 2012, the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) announced the publication of a draft Energy Bill, heralding the biggest changes in the UK’s energy sector for 20 years. The cornerstone of the announcement is reform of the electricity market to deliver secure, affordable and low-carbon electricity as well as the certainty investors need to attract £110 billion of infrastructure investment over this decade.
Offshore WIND staff, June 05, 2012; Image: awea