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Offshore wind report 2023

I’m delighted to share the 2023 UK Offshore Wind Report. Delivering this holistic view of the UK offshore wind industry is of great importance to us. The Crown Estate’s purpose is to deliver lasting and shared prosperity for the nation, using the land and seabed we manage to help catalyse Net Zero, restore nature, create thriving communities and deliver national value. When it comes to our work managing the seabed, this means taking a strategic and long-term view of this vital resource.

The UK’s ability to rise to these challenges is directly linked to the growth and success of our offshore wind industry. Reading this report, it’s extraordinary to see how far we’ve come in the almost 25 years since the first turbines were installed, collectively building a world-leading offshore wind market capable of powering 14.2m homes, drastically reducing our reliance on fossil fuels.

But as we look ahead we face new challenges which require new approaches. We need to achieve more in the next decade than we have in the last 25 years, accelerating the growth of the sector to maximise its contribution to Net Zero ambitions and unlock the jobs and prosperity it can bring. Yet at the same time our seas are under mounting pressure, supporting a growing number of livelihoods, industries and natural habitats. Growth must be achieved in a responsible way which allows all these other interests to thrive.

  • 49TWh

    Amount of electricity produced by UK offshore wind in 2023

  • 50%

    UK offshore wind generated enough electricity in 2023 to supply the needs of 50% (14.2m) of UK homes

  • 17%

    Proportion of total UK electricity generated by offshore wind in 2023

  • 18.5m tonnes

    CO2 displaced through use of renewable energy

Achieving that means taking a more strategic, holistic and data-led approach than ever before to ensure we make the most of this vital resource so that it can contribute to the needs of our country and nature.

2023 saw many examples of new ways of thinking and new approaches being realised. Through our Whole of Seabed Programme we are digitally mapping the seabed space needed to meet future demand for a wide range of industries, infrastructure, and habitats out to 2050. This work will support the development of a pioneering Marine Delivery Routemap enabling partners and us to forward plan how we use the seabed in the future, which recognises the hat-trick of priorities we must consider – nature recovery, jobs and regeneration, and achieving Net Zero.

We are increasing collaboration with systems operators, governments and the sector to take a more strategic approach to resolve system issues, de-risk and accelerate the leasing process and put social value at the heart of decision-making. This includes working with the Electricity System Operator (ESO) and others to develop a Strategic Spatial Energy Plan; planning ahead for grid connections; the development of an Industrial Growth Plan (IGP) that could support long-term growth of the UK offshore wind sector and boost the UK’s economy by up to £25bn and support over 10,000 jobs; and preparing to launch a pilot £10million Supply Chain Accelerator fund to support supply chain opportunities created through the Celtic Sea Leasing Round 5, with a further £40 million earmarked for offshore wind. For Offshore Wind Leasing Round 5 we set clear expectations on the commitments developers will need to make when it comes to delivering broader social, environmental and economic benefits arising from their projects.

We have been able to move faster than ever before between leasing rounds, bringing the 4.5GW Offshore Wind Leasing Round 5 opportunity to market within a year of signing Round 4 Agreements for Lease, whilst welcoming the Government’s intention to work towards a further pipeline of up to 12GW. This acceleration is not just about faster leasing, but also about faster deployment of offshore wind – in part, thanks to up-front Habitats Regulations Assessments, planning together for grid connections and investing millions in surveys to inform site selection. We also announced a process to consider requests for increases in capacity on several projects already in agreement to ensure that we are maximising the potential from existing wind farm areas.

Deeper collaboration, enhancing evidence and data, forward planning together, resolving system issues, all increasing our pace: this is the shift in mentality we will need to take into the future if we are to meet the UK’s critical Net Zero ambitions and ensure the social and economic benefits of the offshore wind sector are felt across the country.

We’ve come a long way, and built a solid base from which, together, we can accelerate the energy transition, support nature recovery and grow the supply chain. But we want, and need, to do even more. That’s why we welcomed the UK Government’s commitment to bring forward legislation that will modernise our investment powers, in particular our ability to borrow. This would allow us to invest significantly more, to have a greater impact and accelerate the sustainable deployment of offshore wind for the benefit of the country and the environment.

The one constant we can rely on is increasing volatility, whether that’s geopolitical, economic or environmental. However, this report paints a picture of a robust industry which is able to overcome challenges and continue to grow. That’s in no small part thanks to a commitment to work together, which will be a powerful force as we take on the challenge to do more, and do things differently, to ensure the continued success of the UK offshore wind industry.

I would like to thank all those who have contributed to this report and shared data, particularly Crown Estate Scotland, allowing us to present a holistic view of the UK offshore wind industry. I hope you enjoy reading this report and reflecting on yet another extraordinary year for the UK offshore wind industry.

Gus Jaspert

Managing Director, Marine

Full report and other resources