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UK eyes record offshore wind farms in summer auction

A new report by RenewableUK has unveiled a groundbreaking opportunity for the UK Government to secure a record number of offshore wind farms and a substantial increase in clean energy capacity in this year's Contracts for Difference (CfD) auction. The report, named EnergyPulse Insights Offshore Wind, indicates that the government could potentially double the country’s offshore wind capacity in the upcoming auction, providing a significant boost to energy security.

According to the report, 14 wind farms are already eligible to bid in the CfD auction (Allocation Round 6), offering nearly 10.3 gigawatts (GW) of new capacity. This surpasses the previous record set in 2022, with 8.5GW across 7 projects. Furthermore, an additional 4.7GW of new offshore wind capacity could become eligible, potentially bringing the total to 14.9GW if government consent is granted.

To put this potential capacity into perspective, the current fully operational offshore wind capacity is 14.7GW, generating 14% of the UK’s electricity. The report emphasizes the importance of offshore wind, highlighting that just one gigawatt can power over a million British homes for a year. 

The report also outlines that 5.2GW are already under construction in UK waters, and it forecasts nearly 45GW could be operational by the end of 2030. RenewableUK urges the government to set high budget and parameters in the upcoming auction, emphasizing that offshore wind is a cost-effective solution vital for enhancing energy security and reducing reliance on expensive imported power. 

In a global context, the report notes that the operational offshore wind capacity has surpassed 70GW for the first time, with China leading at 34.7GW, followed by the UK at 14.7GW and Germany at 8.3GW. The report includes a summary of global offshore wind activity in 2023, with 7.6GW going fully operational and over 21GW reaching a final investment decision.

RenewableUK’s Chief Executive, Dan McGrail, commented on the report, stating, “Our latest EnergyPulse report highlights the enormous opportunity which the Government has to strengthen the UK’s energy security, with a record number of new offshore wind farms eligible to bid into this year’s clean power auction, and a record amount of new capacity.”

He further emphasized that offshore wind is rapidly advancing worldwide, and the UK remains a global leader. McGrail urged Ministers to be ambitious in setting the auction budget, as it could attract billions in private investment, foster growth in the offshore wind supply chain, and create new jobs in the sector.


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