UK told to up offshore wind investment amid fears over rising global competition

The CEO of the organisation which represents the UK’s renewable energy operators has urged the government to incentivise not penalise the sector as other global markets look to establish global leadership in offshore wind energy production.

RenewableUK’s Dan McGrail said that the UK’s position in the global renewable energy industry was under threat as the EU and US looked to deliver subsidies to encourage the manufacture of offshore wind equipment and the operation of wind farms while the UK continues to impose greater tax on clean energy production. He added unless the country attracted billions in new investment, manufacturing capabilities and jobs will head elsewhere.

It comes as the organisation issued its latest EnergyPulse data analysts on offshore wind power which showed that the UK’s pipeline of offshore wind projects at all stages of development now stands at 99.8GW across 130 projects,  an increase of 14GW over the past 12 months. This includes 13.7GW of fully operational capacity and a further 13.6GW under construction or with support secured for a route to market

“The global pipeline now stands at 1,174GW across 1,417 projects in 38 countries, an increase of 508GW over the past 12 months,” it added. “Fully developing that offshore wind capacity could meet 20% of global electricity demand.”

While the UK retains the second largest pipeline, accounting for 8.5% of the global total, this is the first time that it has fallen below 10%, reflecting the rapid growth of new markets like Australasia and South America:

In terms of global operational capacity, which is now 60GW, China is in the lead with 47% (28.3GW), while the UK retains its position as the 2nd largest with 23% (13.7GW):

In all 90% of the new offshore wind capacity which went operational in 2022 was in two markets: China (3.8GW) and the UK (3.2GW). China and the UK are expected to retain first and second place until at least 2030.

McGrail said: “The UK retains a powerful position in offshore wind, second only to China, but we’re seeing incredible growth in new markets like Australia, the USA and Brazil. Since the invasion of Ukraine, there has been a global step-change in offshore wind which is a challenge to our current position as a world leader.

“There’s now fierce global competition for investment in not only wind farms, but also manufacturing facilities and supply chains. The US and EU are offering massive financial incentives for renewable energy, while in the UK the Government has been raising taxes on clean energy. These figures underline the need for bold action to attract the billions in private investment we need, otherwise the UK risks being left behind in the years ahead, with money and jobs going to more attractive global markets”.