Hard on the heels of a UK Government commitment to 40 GW of offshore wind by 2030, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has admitted that in the long-term, even more offshore wind will be needed if the UK is to achieve its net zero target by 2050
In an update to its Sector Deal for offshore wind published on 4 March 2020, BEIS said “We will look to be even more ambitious. The UK introduced a formal net zero target into law in 2019 – the first major economy in the world to do so. We expect the renewable energy sector, especially offshore wind, to have a major role in helping the UK achieve this.
“Meeting net zero is likely to require higher volumes of offshore wind deployment than previously envisaged, to meet greater levels of electrification across the economy.
“The government will work with the sector and other stakeholders to build upon the strong foundations of this Sector Deal to accelerate sustainable deployment up to 2030. We will also work with the sector to prepare for the 2030s and 2040s, for example by enabling new innovations such as floating offshore wind and hybrid projects.”
At a parliamentary reception at the House of Commons to mark the first anniversary of the sector deal, UK Minister for Energy and Climate Change Kwasi Kwarteng welcomed the government’s 40 GW commitment and said it was “a measure of the success industry has achieved and government’s ambition for the sector.”
He told the reception that 40 GW was “a remarkable achievement,” and said the industry “could never have dreamed that it would make such strides.”
In 2019 the Committee on Climate Change suggested that a near-10-fold increase in offshore wind capacity is achievable by 2050, to 75 GW.
Speaking at the parliamentary reception, Committee on Climate Change member Baroness Brown hinted that an even more ambitious level of 100 GW of offshore wind is not out of the question.