UK’s Offshore Wind Sector Reaches Milestone
RenewableUK, the trade and professional body for the wind and marine energy industries, is celebrating a milestone month for the offshore wind sector. The UK now has more than 2.67 gigawatts of offshore wind capacity installed – enough to power more than 1,800,000 British homes. This represents more than 60% of the European Union’s offshore wind capacity – more than three times greater than that of Denmark, the next largest.
Three major offshore projects were either officially opened or started to generate clean energy in this exceptional month. The opening of Statoil and Statkraft’s Sheringham Shoal wind farm off the coast of Norfolk today (27th Sept) adds 317 megawatts.
The official opening of Vattenfall’s Ormonde wind farm off the coast of Cumbria, with a capacity of 150MW, took place last week (19th Sept).
Earlier this month (7th Sept), Greater Gabbard, a joint venture between SSE and RWE npower renewables off the Suffolk coast, began generating with a capacity of 500MW. More than 1,700 jobs have been created in the construction and operation of these projects, representing a capital investment of over £2 billion.
RenewableUK’s Chief Executive Maria McCaffery said:
“This is a landmark month for the British offshore wind industry, with more than 2.6 gigawatts of wind energy now installed. It’s amazing to think that the capacity of the three offshore wind farms which have either officially opened or gone operational this month has added very nearly a gigawatt in September alone. It provides clear evidence of the extraordinary progress being made in this dynamic sector – the UK has more capacity installed offshore than the rest of the world put together, and we keep on extending that lead.
“What all three of these projects have also demonstrated is that, as well as providing clean energy, the construction and operation of offshore wind farms can provide vital investment needed to support the growth of local economies here in the UK.”
“In just one month we’ve been given a glimpse of what’s possible – as long as a stable climate for investors is maintained. That’s why we’re calling on the Government to ensure that the right framework is in place as the Energy Bill makes its way through parliament.
As offshore wind develops, we will be able to provide even better value for money for the consumer by driving down costs even further through economies of scale, disseminating best practice and co-operating more closely.”
As another example of the economic benefits generated by offshore wind, two UK companies have won contracts worth over £17 million to manufacture, install and operate two weather monitoring stations in the East Anglia wind farm zone.
ScottishPower Renewables and Vattenfall awarded the contracts to Wood Group based in Aberdeen and Steel Engineering of Renfrewshire. The 1,000 tonnes of steel needed for the weather stations’ foundations will be manufactured at a new engineering plant on the outskirts of Glasgow, supporting 100 jobs.
This month also saw the opening of a new offshore wind manufacturing facility at the Tata Steel plant in Hartlepool. The £2million Offshore Processing Centre will manufacture components such as steel tubing used to make jacket foundations for offshore turbines, safeguarding 700 jobs.
Press release, September 27, 2012; Image: Areva Wind