The Crown Estate celebrates another big year for UK Offshore wind, launching its 2017 Operational Report | The Crown Estate

16 April 2018

The Crown Estate celebrates another big year for UK Offshore wind, launching its 2017 Operational Report

The Crown Estate’s 6th annual Offshore Wind Operational Report tracks the progress in the development of the UK’s offshore wind resources over 2017, the busiest year yet for the sector.

Key highlights for UK offshore wind in 2017:

  • Offshore wind reduced the UK’s Co2 emissions by 8.6million tonnes (with UK carbon emissions falling to 1890 levels)
  • 7 windfarms began generating and 4 became fully operational, helping to deliver over half of all the new capacity built in Europe last year.
  • The sector supplied the electricity needs of 5.3 million homes (around 20% of the UK total)

The data builds a picture of a maturing sector, with other important strides forward during the year including:

  • A broadening investor pool, with an increasing number of financial investors, including energy/infrastructure funds and pension funds, demonstrating growing appetite in the asset class.
  • Greater efficiency of commissioning and project management during the power up phase and handover to operations, with the average build rate increasing fivefold between 2015 and 2017.
  • Advances in turbine capacity, with the first 8MW turbines becoming fully operational at Burbo Bank Extension.
  • Significant progress in the UK’s world-leading approach to safety and performance, as demonstrated by the G+ and SPARTA projects.

By the end of 2017, there were 33 fully operational offshore wind farms (1,762 turbines) in UK waters, with a further 8 windfarms under construction, setting the sector on track to grow its contribution to the UK’s electricity supply to 10% by 2020.

Huub den Rooijen, Director of Energy, Minerals & Infrastructure at The Crown Estate said: “2017 has been a milestone year for the UK offshore wind sector, the busiest yet for construction, and delivering more electricity than ever before. This latest report showcases an increasingly mature sector, delivering large-scale, low-carbon power, with record low bid prices for future projects, making the most of the UK’s world-class seabed resources and creating jobs opportunities across the country.”

The update comes as the UK offshore wind industry works with Government on an ambitious vision for 2030, as part of the Offshore Wind sector deal, setting out plans to work with government to step up clean, affordable energy capacity offshore.

The report is an example of The Crown Estate’s work, as active managers of the seabed around England, Wales and Northern Ireland, collaborating with the offshore wind sector and stakeholders, to share data and best practice and address common challenges, helping to attract investment and bring down costs.

In November 2017 the Crown Estate announced plans to work with the offshore wind sector and stakeholders to consider making new seabed rights available to offshore wind developers. If new leasing is confirmed, a formal process could commence in late 2018 or early 2019.

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