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A new study about the future of offshore wind in Britain has revealed the many factors that must be managed to ensure the deployment of up to 140GW of wind energy by 2050, which is required to achieve the country’s net zero goal.
Future Offshore Wind Scenarios (FOWS) is a project that supports the development of offshore wind. It illustrates the complex factors within the marine environment, including the energy cost.
This provides a holistic view of the complex interactions surrounding offshore wind deployment up to net zero, which will be useful in future decision-making.
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy commissioned the study, which was carried out by Arup and supported by ORE Catapult and ABPmer. It provides an example of how the UK could use offshore wind to reach net zero.
FOWS is part The Crown Estate’s Offshore Wind Evidence and Change Programme. This programme gathers and uses data and evidence to support the sustainable and coordinated expansion offshore wind and clean, healthy, productive and biodiversity seas.
FOWS’s insights will help make decisions about the UK’s future offshore energy, including the UK government’s Marine Spatial Prioritisation Programme. This programme is currently gathering additional data and building evidence using this study as a reference point.
This study highlights the importance of floating wind, which increases deployment options and has the potential to reduce spatial pressures within UK waters.
It also identifies the need to plan for whole-system and integrated marine spatial planning.
Greg Hands, Energy Minister, stated that “we are already a global leader in offshore wind. This report will inform the UK about its future deployment of renewable energy. It will also reduce our vulnerability to volatile global gas prices, and increase our energy security.
Will Apps, the Crown Estate’s head of marine development, stated that offshore wind will play a key role in the UK’s 2050 energy system. However, achieving this potential will require a balanced and holistic approach to other marine activities.
“This study, which was supported by our Offshore Wind Evidence and Change Programme for the first time, places the nation’s net zero offshore wind ambitions in a spatial context. This provides excellent evidence for policymakers, industry and other stakeholders to use as they collaborate to realize this potential, crucial for UK energy security and green economy.
Colin MacIver, head of offshore wind development at Crown Estate Scotland, stated that there are many opportunities for the UK’s off-shore wind sector to deliver net-zero.
“Our recent experience in ScotWind Leasing – which could supply enough green electricity for every home in Scotland – has shown the desire of developers to invest clean energy.
“It is important that we continue working together to realize the immense potential and provide a just transition to all.”
Clare Lavelle, Arup Scotland’s energy leader, said that the UK has ambitious plans to develop offshore wind industries as it strives for net zero.
“To make the most of technology and maximize our capacity, we must carefully consider the costs and interactions of various deployment options.
“Our modeling is an important step towards understanding and quantifying these interactions. It also offers a tool for being able to test various scenarios to support future stakeholder involvement.”