The British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) released a new report this week that examines key issues affecting the development of offshore wind energy in the UK. Although supply chain concerns and operation reliability issues remain, BWEA is optimistic about the future for offshore wind development.The report, titled “UK Offshore Wind: Movng up a Gear,” forecasts the development of 6.6 gigawatts of offshore wind capacity in the country by 2015, which would account for roughly 40 percent of the Renewables Obligation.
Much of the recent offshore activity is in concurrence with the European initiative to meet its 20 percent binding target for renewable energy by 2020. The report says that the appetite for investment is unequivocally low; however, interest in the industry is on the rise. The primary limitation on development in the near-future is expected to be wind turbine supply and vessel installation shortages.
“While the offshore wind industry continues to face key challenges on the economic and technical fronts, confidence remains high that solutions can be found,” said Dr. Gordon Edge, BWEA’s Head of Offshore.
Vestas Wind, one of the world’s largest turbine manufacturers and project developers, predicts that within the next three years its offshore capability will be at least one project per year in the UK with each project producing 100-500 megawatts (MW) annually. BWEA believes that such a pace of project development will quickly make the UK a leader in offshore wind.
“Today there are 1,100 MW of installed offshore capacity worldwide but by 2020 there could be 20,000 MW in the UK alone,” said Maria McCaffrey, Chief Executive of BWEA.