This week I’ve been at the Global Offshore Wind Conference 2018 in Manchester. For those of you that don’t know me I have been working in the sustainable energy sector for some time now, with my specialism being the deployment of renewable energy.
Our oceans have many uses! In a bid to reduce our carbon emissions the UK has a commitment to reduce producing electricity from fossil fuels and increase generation from cleaner sources and technologies. Offshore wind technology is one of these.
For those of you outside of the sector offshore wind is a renewable energy source. Offshore wind farms are constructed in the ocean to generate electricity with wind.
Basically when wind blows past a turbine, the blades of the turbine capture the energy and rotate. This rotation triggers an internal shaft to spin, causing the internal generator to produce electricity. This is then transported to the grid via some very clever cable technology (again pioneered from the UK) and then to our homes.
In the UK the Crown Estate handle the allocation of seabed’s to developers of the offshore wind farm projects. Before being consented the project developers are required to prove as a part of the planning application process that the project is safe for the environment, for example projects have been denied due to the potential impact on sea-life and birds.
As well as being bankable, the projects also have to bring broader benefits to the communities surrounding the developments i.e. supply chain development and the creation of jobs.
Cost reduction is also key globally we have seen the costs of offshore wind come down and in the UK we have already surpassed our aspiration to reach £100 per MWh by 2020. In fact last year we smashed this target with projects coming in at £57.50 per MWh. Costs coming down mean less impact on our energy bills making this a truly sustainable energy source.
As I mentioned the UK being the only country with a legally binding carbon reduction target (80% by 2050 compared with levels in 1990), brings with it an equally ambitious (attainable) renewables target. And the deployment of offshore wind is a big part of helping us meet these targets.
At present the UK leads globally with the largest installed capacity of offshore wind in the world. Our expertise is sought by other markets who are starting to enter the market. This is helped us export to other nations and has also attracted much needed investment into the UK.
Picture of me at the Department of International Trade’s Green is Great Britain backdrop at the GOW event in Manchester 2018.
As report earlier this week the UK still holds the top spot globally with around a total of 35GW of capacity either in operation, development or planning. The aim for the industry now is to deliver 30GW of operational capacity by 2030, providing enough power to meet demands from 30% of British homes.
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