11 April 2019

The Crown Estate showcases another record-breaking year for UK offshore wind, with the launch of its 2018 Offshore Wind Operational Report

The Crown Estate, the managers of the seabed around England, Wales and Northern Ireland, has today published its seventh annual Offshore Wind Operational report tracking the sector’s progress over another year of record growth (2018). 

The data builds a picture of a maturing industry which is making an ever growing contribution to the UK energy mix. Important strides forward during the year which are highlighted within the report include:

  • Operational capacity: At the end of December 2018, there were 1,931 fully operational offshore wind turbines on the UK seabed (equivalent to 43% of the European total) with a further 992 under construction. Over the year, an almost-world record of new capacity was completed in the UK, beaten only by China. 
  • Electricity generation: Offshore wind supplied 8% of the UK’s total estimated electricity generation, meeting the equivalent needs of over a quarter of all homes and reducing the UK’s CO2 emissions by a total of 12 million tonnes. 
  • Record-breaking projects: Construction was completed at the Walney Extension in the Irish Sea, making it the world’s largest operational wind farm. In the same year, construction began at Hornsea 1, a project which is set to overtake Walney as the world’s largest offshore wind farm when it becomes fully commissioned in 2020, with capacity to power over one million homes.

The report also showcases the wealth of data and insight on the UK offshore wind fleet, which has continued to expand in line with the growing scale and maturity of the portfolio. A huge 167 TB of survey content, collected by The Crown Estate’s customers throughout the lifetime of their projects, is now uploaded to the Marine Data Exchange (MDE), providing an invaluable resource to support the continued growth of the sector.

The 2018 Offshore Wind Operational Report also provides a useful digest of other key areas of progress for the industry over the past year, including on data, health and safety performance, operations and maintenance, community benefits and ownership.

The update comes as The Crown Estate works with industry and stakeholders to explore plans to make new seabed rights available for offshore wind leasing, to be known as Leasing Round 4. 

Adrian Fox, Head of Energy, Minerals & Infrastructure- Offshore Assets at The Crown Estate said: “After years of strong growth, 2018 was the year that offshore wind entered the Premier League. As this report highlights, offshore wind has become a large scale, responsible and reliable provider of low-carbon electricity, and with the continued policy support and ambitious vision established in the recent Sector Deal, it looks certain to progress from strength to strength.”

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