New figures from the Renewable UK Offshore Wind Project show that the UK
has retained the top spot as the largest offshore wind market in the world
with a portfolio of 35.2GW.
This is followed by Germany (23.4GW), Taiwan (8.3GW), China (7.7GW) and the
USA (7.5GW) rounds out the top five. These countries share just under 80%
of the global market.
The latest figures do not include possible extensions of existing wind
farms totalling nearly 3GW recently announced by the Crown Estates – which
could push the UK even further ahead when they are confirmed next summer.
The UK held its global number one position in a year which saw auctions for
new power contracts (Contracts for Difference) secure offshore wind at half
the price of auctions in 2015, making new offshore wind cheaper than new
gas and nuclear power plants.
Renewable UK chief executive Hugh McNeal commented: “Our industry is
already delivering for the UK and we want to go further, with offshore wind
as the backbone of a clean, reliable and affordable energy system.
“To achieve this ambition, the industry will invest tens of billions of
pounds, creating thousands of skilled jobs and supporting prosperous
communities across the UK.”
A Scottish Power spokesman added: ““The UK continues to lead the world in
offshore wind, and the industry here is in a strong position to capitalise
on export opportunities in growing markets across the globe.
“We have the skills, knowledge and expertise that other markets need.”
However, the number of new solar power installations in the UK halved in
2017 for the second year in a row as the fallout of government subsidy cuts
continued to shake the sector.
New solar capacity was just 0.95GW in 2017, down from 1.97GW in 2016 and
4.1GW in 2015.
The number of new UK solar installations was so low that it caused EU solar
growth to flatline, while record amounts of new solar were added worldwide.
Labour MP Rebecca Long-Bailey, the shadow business secretary, said: “Tory
policies on solar including dramatic cuts to feed-in tariff subsidies,
business and VAT rate hikes, and obstruction to clean power auctions have
held back one of the cleanest, cheapest forms of energy.”
Meanwhile, new analysis of the future of the global electricity system by
Bloomberg NEF finds that wind and solar are set to surge to 50% of world
generation by 2050.
Seb Henbest, the lead author of the outlook, said: “The arrival of cheap
battery storage will mean that it becomes increasingly possible to finesse
the delivery of electricity from wind and solar, so that these technologies
can help meet demand even when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t
“The result will be renewables eating up more and more of the existing
market for coal, gas and nuclear energy.”