The Offshore Wind Industry Council has started work on a project to ensure the UK’s low-carbon energy system makes the best use of the increasingly large proportion of electricity generated from renewable sources, including offshore wind.
The new research project, Solving the Integration Challenge, is a key part of the landmark Offshore Wind Sector Deal announced by Government and industry in March. A wide-ranging group of experts and business leaders will examine how the UK can continue to decarbonise by building a reliable modern energy system, managing variability of demand and supply based on renewable technologies, with offshore wind playing a leading role.
The group will publish a road map identifying pioneering techniques, such as using electricity from offshore wind to generate and store hydrogen as a power source. A number of countries are working on plans to develop green hydrogen, which is produced by electrolysis using electricity from renewable energy, such as offshore wind. Industry leaders such as Ørsted and Siemens have already recognised its potential.
The project will also examine how to introduce more flexibility into our energy system, for example by expanding battery storage and using demand-side response (which enables consumers to take advantage of low electricity prices at certain times of day).
The task force began work on 20 May 2019 in London. It is led by Baroness Brown of Cambridge, the industry’s Offshore Wind Sector Champion, and includes senior representatives from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the Scottish Government, the Committee on Climate Change, National Grid, the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, the Energy Systems Catapult, Atkins, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and companies including ITM, Good Energy, Shell, Equinor, Vattenfall and Ørsted.
Earlier this month the Government’s advisers, the Committee on Climate Change, published a report on cutting greenhouse gas emission to net zero by 2050 which highlighted the key role of wind energy in tackling global warming while also keeping energy bills down for consumers. The report suggested that the UK could increase its offshore wind capacity nearly 10-fold by 2050, from 7.9 gigawatts (GW) now to 75 GW by 2050.
Baroness Brown said, “There is no doubt about the urgent need to be more ambitious in our plans to decarbonise electricity generation.
“With the transformative Offshore Wind Sector Deal in place, and CCC’s call for more offshore wind, the time is right for the UK to reach out and embrace innovative technologies which will help us to integrate more low-cost power from renewables onto the system. This will benefit consumers and create highly-skilled jobs, as well as leading by example on the global stage in taking practical measures against climate change.”