The UK now has 40GW+ of offshore wind energy projects

The Crown Estate announces 2 gigawatts (GW) of extensions to offshore Round 1 and Round 2 sites. More space to build on the back of strong offshore growth and developer demand. Seven wind farm projects granted extensions, due to come on-stream by 2016.

RenewableUK, the country’s leading renewable energy trade association, endorsed today’s announcement by The Crown Estate on extending Round 1 and Round 2 offshore wind farm sites as further evidence of the viability and strength of the UK’s pioneering offshore wind power programme.

The Crown Estate awarded an additional 2GW of sites, sufficient to power 1.4 million homes on an annual basis, to seven existing offshore wind farms.

Peter Madigan, RenewableUK’s Head of Offshore Renewables, said: ‘The extensions of Round 1 and 2 sites follow on the heels of successful commissioning and operation of seven wind farms over the last four to five years. The announcement is entirely driven by developer interest and provides emphatic evidence of offshore wind viability and growth. The projects are proven to deliver, so it makes sense to scale them up.’

Out of the seven wind farm sites involved, five will be granted an extension of project area, while two will have more capacity added within the existing project boundaries. Industry experts believe that extending area or capacity of offshore wind farms will enable wind farm developers to deliver economies of scale both in terms of project delivery and in terms of operation and maintenance costs.

‘The UK now has 40GW+ of offshore wind projects at various stages of development, and has established itself as world leader with over 1GW installed.
When fully built out, this potential will supply a full third of our nation’s electricity, or more than 130 terawatt hours per annum. Since the beginning of the year we have seen investment totalling £0.5 billion, from some of the world’s best-known companies, backing this project. The zone extensions show the offshore revolution is well under way,’ commented Madigan.

RenewableUK is the trade and professional body for the UK wind and marine renewables industries. Formed in 1978, and with 600 corporate members, RenewableUK is the leading renewable energy trade association in the UK. Our primary purpose is to promote the use of renewable power in and around the UK, both onshore and offshore. We act as a central point of information for our membership and as a lobbying group to promote renewable energy to government.

The UK’s offshore wind power potential has been developed through a series of competitive leasing rounds by The Crown Estate, landlord and steward of the UK’s seabed. Rounds 1 and 2 provided a combined total of 8 GW of potential capacity, whilst Round 3 awarded licences for up to 32GW of electricity in January 2010.

According to data for 2008, contained in the Digest of UK’s Energy Statistics (published by the Department of Energy and Climate Change), each 1GW of installed offshore wind turbine capacity is sufficient to satisfy the annual electricity consumption of 684,000 UK households.

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