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UK tops Germany, China, and US as offshore wind energy leader

The British offshore wind energy industry is expected to see its total investment between 2017 and 2021 reach £18.9bn, and will account for 30% of the country's power needs by 2030, says the report by RenewableUK

The UK has the largest offshore wind energy market in the world – with 35.2GW of capacity in operation, development and planning, a new report shows.

Germany (23.4GW), Taiwan (8.3GW), China (7.7GW) and the US (7.5GW) make up the rest of the top five, which holds just under 80% of the global market.

The British offshore wind industry is expected to see its total investment between 2017 and 2021 reach £18.9bn, and will account for 30% of the country’s power needs by 2030.

This will mean delivering 30GW of operational capacity up from the current 7.1GW, which not-for-profit energy trade association RenewableUK, responsible for the report, claims will double jobs in the sector to 27,000.

CEO Hugh McNeal said: “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.

“Offshore wind is a global growth opportunity and a major energy source. The sector will be worth over £30bn worldwide by 2030 and UK companies must be ready to seize opportunities in new markets.

“We are transforming the UK supply chain, as we grow our exports five-fold by 2030.”

offshore wind energy
RenewableUK CEO Hugh McNeal

The global offshore wind energy capacity, both operational and upcoming, currently stands at 104GW – a 10% increase over the past year.

German energy company Innogy has its largest market in the UK, where it accounts for 1GW of the country’s offshore wind power.

Its director of offshore investment and asset management, Richard Sandford, said: “The UK has demonstrated true transformational growth, from the early days of our North Hoyle project, the UK’s first commercial scale offshore wind farm, to the modern technologically ground-breaking turbines being installed today.

“We’re seeing bigger more powerful turbines, further from shore and in deeper waters, with developers like ourselves installing faster than ever.

“At the same time, the growth in offshore wind has created an industry of manufacturers and suppliers that are becoming increasingly innovative and expert, and are helping positioning the UK as a world-wide hub of offshore expertise.”