29 September 2021

Government and industry-led taskforce unlocks new opportunities for offshore wind

Collaborative work from a Government and industry-led partnership has identified how innovative new technology could allow future offshore wind projects to exist alongside air defence radar systems.

Today, 29 September 2021, the Air Defence and Offshore Wind Windfarm Mitigation Taskforce published a first iteration of its Strategy and Implementation Plan at RenewableUK’s Global Offshore Wind conference and exhibition in London.

The Taskforce was driven by the Offshore Wind Sector Deal and brings together the Offshore Wind Industry Council (OWIC), The Crown Estate through its Offshore Wind Evidence and Change programme, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Ministry of Defence (MOD). The partnership is aimed at helping find ways to mitigate the impacts of offshore wind farms on air defence radar systems and ultimately enable the co-existence of air defence and offshore wind. 

Today’s milestone provides an update on progress made so far and highlights the importance of strategic collaboration to addressing this challenge. It also identifies specific technical mitigation that could be introduced using new surveillance technology to distinguish between wind turbines and aircraft with greater precision than current systems.

The Co-Chair of the Offshore Wind Industry Council, and UK Country Manager for Vattenfall, Danielle Lane, said: “The publication of the Strategy and Implementation Plan represents a major step forward in the offshore wind industry’s collaborative work with Government and The Crown Estate. We have made great progress so far in our joint aim of ensuring that military radar systems and offshore wind farms can co-exist successfully. We will continue in our innovative and co-operative work to find and deploy solutions which will allow us to build out more offshore wind projects in areas which are currently constrained due to their impact on air defence radar. This will allow us to maximise the economic and environmental benefits we are offering to the UK, as we accelerate our efforts to meet the Government’s target of 40GW of offshore wind by 2030 and reach net zero emissions as fast as possible”.

Will Apps, Head of Marine Development, The Crown Estate said: “Reaching net zero by 2050 requires fresh thinking and collaboration across government and industry. We’re proud to be investing £1.7 million in this important programme and to be working with partners to help unlock the vast potential of the UK’s seabed.”

Minister for Energy, Clean Growth and Climate Change Greg Hands said: “This strategic plan represents a key milestone in ensuring the timely deployment of 40GW of offshore wind by 2030. It is moreover a testament to this government's strong collaboration across Whitehall and industry to deliver our transition to net zero. I look forward to this programme’s continued development with our partners in the Taskforce, and the resulting deployment of clean, cost-effective offshore wind energy this will produce.”            

Air Vice Marshal Linc Taylor, RAF Chief of Staff Capability and Chair of Air Defence and Offshore Wind Programme Board said: “The RAF is playing an active role in the UK’s efforts to build a greener, net-zero future. Offshore wind will play a central part in meeting the nation’s renewable energy needs. As such, we have been working with other government and industry partners to find solutions that will allow the UK’s Airspace radars to work effectively in the presence of windfarms. The strategy released today demonstrates how we have been working closely to resolve these challenges and enable us, together, to build that greener future.”



Image: UK Ministry of Defence © Crown Copyright 2021

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