UK offshore wind breezes through 1GW barrier
Trade association RenewableUK said that the completion of Dong Energy’s Gunfleet Sands offshore wind farm and E.ON’s Robin Rigg development means that the UK now boasts 11 working offshore wind farms, featuring 336 wind turbines capable of generating power for up to 700,000 homes.
The association said that the rapidly expanding sector was also poised to accelerate further, with more than 40GW of capacity now at various stages of the development pipeline. Most notably, around 30GW of capacity is expected to be delivered through the recently awarded Round 3 projects, the first of which are expected to come online during the second half of the decade.
“The UK offshore wind industry has come of age,” said Maria McCaffery, chief executive of RenewableUK. “In the last 10 years we have built a brand new world-leading industry sector that will create long-term value for this country. ”
She added that the UK wind energy industry now had the foundations in place to build a “position of global leadership” and establish a flourishing supply chain that will create jobs and provide a major boost to the country’s emerging marine energy industry.
The landmark was welcomed by each of the three main political parties, which each vowed to deliver policies that would accelerate the expansion of the offshore wind industry.
The landmark comes a day after new figures from the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) suggested that the UK’s oft-criticised wind farm planning system is not so bad compared to some of its European neighbours.
The trade association reported that on average it takes 42 months to get building consent for a wind farm in the EU, compared with an average 27-month wait in the UK.
Finland topped the league table with an eight-month wait, followed by Austria with 10 months, Italy with 18 and Romania with 15.
In contrast, wind developers in Portugal, a country with some of the best wind resources in Europe, had to wait an average of 58 months to receive planning approval, while it took more than 50 months in Spain and Greece.
The report also highlighted huge variations in the level of complexity wind farm developers have to navigate, with Danish developers having to contact just five different agencies when seeking planning permission. On the other hand, Greek developers have to contact 41 different bodies.
“If Europe is serious about reaching 20 per cent renewables by 2020, some member states need to streamline their consent procedures for wind farms,” said Justin Wilkes, EWEA policy director. “There are a number of actions all member states could take: creating a one-stop-shop approach for contacting the different authorities, writing clear guidelines for developers, and introducing better and streamlined spatial planning procedures.”
The report also found that planning delays were far less severe for offshore wind farms, with developers waiting just 18 months on average for a decision.
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- Worldwide wind industry growth cannot be stopped, says group
- Siemens tasked with EWE’s second offshore wind project in Germany
- U.S. Wind Industry Annual Market Report
Filed under: Wind Power Articles
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