UK to remain Europe’s largest offshore wind market through 2030
Clarksons Research has released onto its Renewables Intelligence Network (RIN) platform a new briefing profiling the UK’s offshore wind sector, including a capacity forecast out to 2030, coverage of the upcoming subsidy auction for offshore wind projects in the UK and intelligence on vessel deployment at wind farms off the country.
“Our projections suggest the UK will remain Europe’s largest offshore wind market through 2030, with capacity projected to quadruple to 42.7 GW (May-22: 11.4 GW) and the number of active turbines doubling to 4,700 (May-22: 2,400),” Steve Gordon, Managing Director of Clarksons Research, commented upon reviewing the data. “Following recent UK government plans to accelerate the permitting process, however, there is upside to this projection with the UK government now targeting 50 GW by 2030.”
Gordon said capacity expansion in the UK through 2030 will be underpinned by the southern North Sea (projected to reach 24.2 GW, up 278 per cent from today’s 6.4 GW, and Scotland (projected to reach 12.8 GW, up almost seven-fold from today’s 1.9 GW, and account for 30 per cent of UK capacity), while the Celtic Sea is set to see a significant build-out of floating offshore wind capacity towards the end of the decade (1.1 GW of floating capacity by 2030).
Installed offshore wind capacity off the UK is set to grow by 30 pr cent in 2022, with 3.2 GW of capacity added (one third of global capacity growth) including the world’s largest wind farm (Orsted’s 1.4 GW Hornsea Project Two), to reach 13.7 GW.
“Expansion of the UK’s offshore wind sector is set to be supported by the UK government’s recently announced ambition to increase the nation’s offshore wind target to 50 GW by 2030,” added Gordon. “The Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme also appears set to support the further expansion of offshore wind capacity in the UK, with the fourth CfD allocation round set to see 12 GW of renewables capacity awarded subsidies later this year.”
There have been 12 wind turbine installation vessels (WTIV) active in UK waters over the past 12 months. Gordon said demand for installation units “looks set to remain strong” over the coming years with 2,300 turbines projected to be installed off the UK through 2030.
Shipping companies operating WTIVs in UK waters over the past 12 months include DEME Offshore (three vessels), ZITON (three vessels) and Cadeler (two vessels).
“The UK remains the world’s largest dedicated construction and service operation vessel (CSOV) market, with 11 units currently operating at farms off the UK. With demand for CSOVs to support the construction and maintenance of farms further from shore set to increase, a total of nine CSOVs currently on order (31 per cent of the global CSOV orderbook) have been chartered to work at a UK farm once delivered.”
Vessel owners currently operating CSOVs at windfarms off the UK include ESVAGT (four vessels), Acta Marine (two vessels) and Edda Wind (two vessels).
Gordon said they estimate there are over 250 active crewboats supporting windfarm operations across the UK.
“Efforts to be ‘green through the supply chain’ continue, with recent newbuildings including battery packs, hydrogen ‘ready’ and methanol. Shoreside investment will also be needed to facilitate the fuelling transition for the offshore wind fleet.
The top crewboat engine manufacturers are MTU (20 per cent of the UK crewboat fleet), Caterpillar (18 per cent) and Volvo Penta (18 per cent).
Gordon said investment in the UK’s offshore wind supply chain has strengthened recently, and looks set to see further growth in the coming years. Notably, GE has begun the construction of its new blade factory in Teesside, which will produce the turbine blades for the 3.6 GW Dogger Bank project, while SeAH has signed a binding agreement with Teesside to build a £260 million (US$321 million) monopile factory for the production of foundations for Orsted’s Hornsea Project Three.
“The broader offshore wind industry looks set to continue its exciting growth phase and our long-term scenarios suggest offshore wind will play a vital role in the Energy Transition and may provide between six and nine per cent of global energy supply by 2050 (today offshore wind produces just 0.3 per cent today). Globally our projections suggest 240 GW and 30,000 active turbines by 2030 (today there is 51.7 GW and 11,000 turbines). China has become the largest offshore wind sector by installed capacity (overtaking the UK in 2021 and with 23.4 GW of capacity today), with strong growth expected in the US, Taiwan and South Korea as the offshore wind industry becomes increasingly international.”