UK offshore wind breezes past 5GW milestone

The UK's offshore wind capacity has passed 5GW for the first time, with the official inauguration of the Gwynt y Mor wind farm off the coast of North Wales.

There are now 1,452 operational offshore turbines in the UK, with a capacity of 5.054 GW, producing enough electricity to meet the needs of 3.5 million British households and saving 6.3 million tonnes of carbon emissions a year.

Maf Smith, the deputy chief executive of industry body RenewableUK, said: “This is an important landmark, which no other country is anywhere close to equalling, as we have more offshore wind installed than the rest of the world put together.

“It’s further evidence of how much the UK has achieved in developing the offshore wind industry in a short space of time – and there’s a healthy pipeline of projects still to come, as long as Government policy remains supportive.

“Today’s record capacity translates into decades of clean energy, thousands of green jobs and less dependence on fossil fuels.”

Continued support

The news comes just two days before RenewableUK’s Global Offshore Wind conference in London, where Energy and Climate Change Secretary Amber Rudd will be speaking.

Rudd’s early tenure in charge of the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has been unpopular with the renewables industry, to say the least, after she went through with plans to scrap new onshore wind subsidies.

The offshore sector, keen to avoid a similar fate, will be presenting a new report at the conference, making the case for continued Government support.

European-wide figures for the offshore wind market – of which 55% is made up by the UK – showed that installations fell by 5% in 2014 thanks to political uncertainty.

To celebrate Global Wind Day last Monday, edie pulled together 10 fascinating facts about wind.

Brad Allen

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