RenewableUK

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The United Kingdom remains the world leader on the offshore wind stage with over 5GW of operational capacity. The sector is also looking very active in every phase of the development process: operational capacity is increasing, construction is ramping up, and projects are being approved by the planning system. All of this ensures that the sector has a bright future.

RenewableUK
Greencoat House Francis Street
SW1P 1DH London
United Kingdom

Filippo Locatelli
+44 (0)20 79 01 30 00
www.renewableUK.com
info@RenewableUK.com
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The United Kingdom remains the world leader on the offshore wind stage with over 5GW of operational capacity. The sector is also looking very active in every phase of the development process: operational capacity is increasing, construction is ramping up, and projects are being approved by the planning system. All of this ensures that the sector has a bright future.

Between June 2015 and June 2016 four offshore wind farms: Humber Gateway, Kentish Flats Extension, Westermost Rough and the Levenmouth demonstration turbine, have become operational, increasing the installed capacity and making wind power an increasingly reliable source of energy for the country.

With the closure of the Renewables Obligation fast approaching in March 2017, construction is also picking up, with projects like Rampion and Race Bank having started offshore operations. These are accompanied by the first projects building out under the Final Investment Decision (FID) Enabling scheme, i.e. Burbo Bank Extension and Dudgeon. These projects will add about 1.60GW of capacity, further beefing up deployment in United Kingdom waters.

On the planning side, a huge leap forward was taken with the approval of Dogger Bank Teesside A&B; its capacity of 2.40GW is the largest consented wind farm in the world. However, last year also had its downsides with the refusal of Navitus Bay and three major Scottish projects being successfully challenged at Judicial Review.

The pipeline of projects nevertheless remains considerable, with more than 12GW of consented offshore wind farms ready to secure investment and enter construction. The fierce competition for support will no doubt lead to increased cost reduction, as recently signalled by increased market competitiveness in other European countries, such as the Netherlands.

The main challenge for the offshore sector remains obtaining the political certainty and clarity necessary to give the necessary confidence to press ahead with investments. In November 2015 Amber Rudd, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change at the time, indicated there would be three Contracts for Difference (CfD) allocation rounds under this Parliament. A draft budget notice for a CfD allocation round to be held in April 2017 has now been published by the new Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

The outlook for the sector remains therefore positive; the new Conservative Government has indicated that renewables remain one of the three main pillars of the United Kingdom’s future energy system, along with gas and nuclear. To this end, the offshore wind sector is eager to demonstrate the significant steps it has taken in the last couple of years, and prove its competitiveness against other energy sources.

The elephant in the room is clearly represented by Brexit. Since the vote in June 2016, the policy environment hasbeen overhauled both at the national and at the European level. A new Prime Minister has come in, bringing the natural uncertainty that accompanies every new administration. The Committee on Climate Change has indicated a need for Government to step up its actions to meet the forth and the fifth Carbon Budgets. Uncertainty at the national level is paired with uncertainty at the European level, which is casting a shadow on every government commitment and on the overall confidence of foreign investors.

In these fluid times, RenewableUK remains a strong and clear advocate for its members before government and the wider public. Next year’s dates for the calendar are also set for the sixth and seventh June. RenewableUK and WindEurope are joining forces to host Offshore Wind Energy 2017. This will be the largest offshore wind conference in the industry’s history, attracting more than 10,000 professionals and showcasing over 500 exhibitors from all sectors of the offshore wind industry.

 
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