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UK offshore wind industry gearing up for a new era of sustainable growth


The UK offshore wind industry is gearing up for a new era of accelerated, sustainable growth supported by a range of new approaches and commitments introduced in 2023, according to The Crown Estate’s latest UK Offshore Wind Report 2023.   

Offshore wind is a UK success story. It’s the second largest offshore wind market in the world and represents more than 40% of European offshore wind capacity. The pipeline grew by a further 10GW in 2023, to 93GW, and the sector produced 49TWh of electricity last year, enough to power the equivalent of 50% of UK homes.   

Whilst this demonstrates exceptional progress since the first turbines were installed some 25 years ago, it is estimated that 125GW could be needed by 2050 to meet net zero1. Achieving this in an increasingly complex marine environment calls for a more coordinated approach to seabed management and the delivery of transmission infrastructure, not just to support growth but also to consider the natural environment, other seabed users and to unlock the jobs and prosperity this growth can bring.     

The Crown Estate, whose role is to create long-term value for the country, focuses on using the land and seabed it manages to help catalyse net zero, restore nature, create thriving communities and drive economic growth. The seabed is key to achieving these ambitions and the UK Offshore Wind Report provides an insight into how careful management of the seabed is helping the nation rise to these challenges.   

New records   

The 2023 report reveals another year of records being broken and firsts for the sector:   

  • A record 49TWh of green electricity was produced by offshore wind, enough to power the equivalent of half of all UK homes with their electricity needs 

  • UK offshore wind energy now makes up 17% of total UK electricity generated, up from 14% in 2022  

  • 43% of all European offshore wind capacity is now hosted within UK waters  

  • Scotland’s largest offshore windfarm, Seagreen, became fully operational   

  • The world’s largest offshore wind farm under construction, Dogger Bank, started producing electricity for the first time  

  • The UK’s 2023 offshore wind output of 49TWh saved the equivalent of 18.5m tonnes of CO2 emissions.  

 New approaches    

The report highlights the significant milestones reached in 2023 to support the sector, setting it on the road to a new era of sustainable, accelerated and co-ordinated growth. These include:    

  • The Crown Estate’s Whole of Seabed Programme – pioneering work to digitally map the seabed space needed to meet future demand for a wide range of industries, infrastructure, and habitats out to 2050   

  • A commitment to develop a Marine Delivery Routemap with partners – enabling The Crown Estate and others to forward plan how the seabed is managed support nature recovery, jobs and regeneration, and net zero priorities   

  • The Crown Estate’s Supply Chain Accelerator fund – with an initial £10m pilot launching this summer to support supply chain opportunities created through the Offshore Leasing Round 5 in the Celtic Sea, and a further £40 million earmarked to support innovation aligned to the Industrial Growth Plan to boost long-term growth of the UK offshore wind sector   

  • Planning ahead for grid connections – The Crown Estate and the Electricity System Operator (ESO) working together, and with others, to develop a Strategic Spatial Energy Plan that sets out what needs to be built, where and when, to deliver on 2035 targets   

  • Clear expectations in Offshore Wind Leasing Round 5 on the commitments developers will need to make to deliver broader social, environmental and economic benefits arising from their projects   

  • Shortening the time between leasing rounds –Offshore Wind Leasing Round 5 was brought to market within a year of signing Round 4 Agreements for Lease  

  • The UK Government’s commitment to bring forward legislation to modernise The Crown Estate’s investment powers, in particular its ability to borrow, allowing it to invest significantly more, to have a greater impact and accelerate the sustainable deployment of offshore wind.  

 Gus Jaspert, Managing Director, Marine, The Crown Estate, said:    

“2023 was a landmark year for the UK offshore wind sector as it generated record levels of green electricity, enough to power half of all UK homes, and continued to grow the pipeline of offshore wind farms despite challenging economic conditions.       

“But the year also marked a step change across the industry in the approach needed to accelerate growth within the sector. At The Crown Estate, we’ve been working with others to put in place a host of new measures to deepen collaboration, enhance evidence and data, forward plan, resolve system issues, unlock onshore opportunities and increase pace.     

“This shift in mentality and approach has laid strong foundations as we look to accelerate the growth of the sector and meet the hat-trick of priorities – nature recovery, jobs and regeneration, and achieving net zero.”    

The UK Offshore Wind Report covers a wide range of data and metrics relevant to the UK offshore wind sector. For more information, including access to key data charts and the full downloadable report, please click here.  


1 UK Government Offshore wind net zero investment roadmap: