The figures on the industry body’s database shows that more than 2GW of offshore windfarms became operational in UK waters during 2018.

Eight new offshore windfarms were officially opened during the year, bringing the annual total of new capacity to 2,121 MW– nearly double the previous annual record of 1,154 MW in 2012.

And this near-doubling of record capacity was achieved with just 18 per cent more turbines than were installed in 2012. A total of 367 turbines were installed this year compared to 309 turbines in 2012, which Renewable UK said underlined the “impressive growth” in turbine power.

Since 2012, the average capacity of an offshore turbine has grown over 50 per cent from 3.7MW to 5.8MW.

The new projects opened this year included the world’s largest operational offshore windfarm, Walney Extension (659MW), Rampion (400MW) and Race Bank (573MW), as well as the world’s second floating offshore windfarm at Kincardine in Scottish waters.

The offshore generation installed this year has provided enough power for more than 2.3 million homes all year round.

Offshore wind deployment will continue to grow next year, with Beatrice in Moray Firth (588MW) going fully operational. Construction work Is continuing on East Anglia One (714MW) and Hornsea Project One (1,218MW) off the Yorkshire coast, which will both to be fully operational in 2020.

Commenting on the figures, Renewable UK’s executive director Emma Pinchbeck, said: “We’re thrilled that we’ve absolutely 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 30GW up and running. The industry would attract £48 billion 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.”

David Blackman

This article first appeared on edie’s sister title website, Utility Week

Comments (1)

  1. Keiron Shatwell says:

    Capacity is nothing without the system in place to smooth the variabilities of wind generated power. We could have 300GW of capacity but would still have to fire up gas or coal stations when the wind doesn’t blow.

    More investment is needed in grid scale storage to back up wind and solar before we can really celebrate "smashing records". By grid scale I don’t mean chemical batteries either as they have a limited lifespan before needing to be replaced, we need sustainable long term storage which means more Pumped Storage Hydro on the scale of Dinorwig

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