More than 2 GW of offshore wind became operational in UK waters during 2018, enough to power more than 2,300,000 homes year round.
In 2018, eight new offshore windfarms were officially opened, bringing the annual total of new capacity to 2,121 MW (2.121 GW) – nearly double the previous annual record of 1,154 MW in 2012.
This near-doubling of capacity was achieved with just 18% more turbines than were installed in 2012 (367 turbines this year compared to 309 turbines in 2012), underlining the impressive growth in turbine power in the last six years. Since 2012, the average capacity of an offshore turbine has grown over 50% from 3.7 MW to 5.8 MW this year.
New projects opened this year included the world’s largest operational offshore windfarm, Walney Extension (659 MW), Rampion (400 MW) and Race Bank (573 MW), as well as the world’s second floating offshore windfarm, Kincardine, in Scottish waters.
Offshore wind deployment will continue to grow next year, with Beatrice in Moray Firth (588 MW) due to become fully operational, and construction work continuing on East Anglia One (714 MW) and Hornsea Project One (1,218 MW) off the Yorkshire coast, which will both to be fully operational in 2020.
RenewableUK executive director Emma Pinchbeck said, “We’re thrilled that we’ve smashed previous records and installed more new offshore wind power stations than ever before.
“This is just the beginning of the great shift to renewables. By 2030, offshore wind could be generating more than a third of the UK’s entire electricity needs, with 30 GW up and running.
“The industry would attract £48Bn (US$61Bn) in investment by the end of the next decade and employ 27,000 people in highly-skilled jobs.
“Offshore wind has brought the UK jobs, lower bills and renewable energy. It’s offering even more to the UK in the anticipated offshore wind Sector Deal, which the government has said it wants to finalise by Christmas.”