Currently, the UK already generates about 10GW of electricity from existing offshore wind farms, but several other projects are already under development - determined to expand that capacity further.
The Scottish government recently awarded 25GW of offshore wind project development rights in one of the biggest auctions of its kind in the world - the 25 total GW of winning projects vastly superseded expectations that Scottish authorities had, as their estimates were around 10GW being built. According to Bloomberg, the Scottish government will receive around £700 million in fees from applicants. Oliver Metcalfe, an analyst at BloombergNEF, said ‘This is the first auction globally for seabed sites that could host gigawatt-scale floating wind projects.’
Multiple companies, ranging from BP to Shell to Iberdrola, were winners in a tender to build new wind farms in Scotland – the auction awarded permits to 17 wind farm projects from among more than 70 bidders.
This shows that there is still a diverse range of companies that are entering the renewable energy market: ‘competition’ is still wide open. This is very important because it will drastically help with the UK’s goal, outlined in the Paris Agreement, of reaching carbon neutrality by 2050, as this technology will help combat global warming.
The projects will mainly be used to power the ‘electrification of cars, home heating and factories that will drive a doubling of electricity demand in the next three decades.’ Also, ‘the winning projects will provide enough electricity to power millions of British homes when they become operational’.
This auction is the first since the UK government devolved management of offshore wind rights to Scotland in 2017. The UK secretary for Business and Energy, Kwasi Kwarteng, has said that ‘the energy price crunch that’s largely being caused by surging gas prices has underlined the need to focus on developing renewable energy.’
Some form of the wind farms could be expected to be potentially built before 2030, in particular the 3GW allocated to BP and EnBW. However, there are some difficulties that will need to be overcome if this were to become a reality: planning permissions, sourcing the turbines and electric grid capacities will all have to be resolved before any major progress is made. Also, many winning bids of the project are in very deep waters, meaning that floating turbines will be required.
Written by Chanel Enow
Research compiled by Billy Ryan