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Super September! UK passes 2.5 gigawatt offshore wind landmark

27 September 2012

  • 2.5 gigawatt milestone surpassed, extending the UK’s global lead in offshore wind
  • £2 billion of investment in 3 new offshore wind farms - more than 1,700 jobs created
  • Offshore wind capacity can now power 1,800,000 British homes
  • UK based companies win multi-million pound orders to supply offshore wind projects

RenewableUK, the trade and professional body for the wind and marine energy industries, is celebrating a milestone month for the offshore wind sector. The UK now has more than 2.67 gigawatts of offshore wind capacity installed – enough to power more than1,800,000 British homes. This represents more than 60% of the European Union’s offshore wind capacity - more than three times greater than that of Denmark, the next largest.

Three major offshore projects were either officially opened or started to generate clean energy in this exceptional month. The opening of Statoil and Statkraft’s Sheringham Shoal wind farm off the coast of Norfolk today (27th Sept) adds 317 megawatts. The official opening of Vattenfall’s Ormonde wind farm off the coast of Cumbria, with a capacity of 150MW, took place last week (19th Sept). Earlier this month (7th Sept), Greater Gabbard, a joint venture between SSE and RWE npower renewables off the Suffolk coast, began generating with a capacity of 500MW. More than 1,700 jobs have been created in the construction and operation of these projects, representing a capital investment of over £2 billion.

The UK has more capacity installed offshore than the rest of the world put together, and we keep on extending that lead

RenewableUK's Chief Executive Maria McCaffery said:

“This is a landmark month for the British offshore wind industry, with more than 2.6 gigawatts of wind energy now installed. It’s amazing to think that the capacity of the three offshore wind farms which have either officially opened or gone operational this month has added very nearly a gigawatt in September alone. It provides clear evidence of the extraordinary progress being made in this dynamic sector – the UK has more capacity installed offshore than the rest of the world put together, and we keep on extending that lead.

“What all three of these projects have also demonstrated is that, as well as providing clean energy, the construction and operation of offshore wind farms can provide vital investment needed to support the growth of local economies here in the UK.”

“In just one month we’ve been given a glimpse of what’s possible - as long as a stable climate for investors is maintained. That’s why we’re calling on the Government to ensure that the right framework is in place as the Energy Bill makes its way through parliament.

As offshore wind develops, we will be able to provide even better value for money for the consumer by driving down costs even further through economies of scale, disseminating best practice and co-operating more closely.”

As another example of the economic benefits generated by offshore wind, two UK companies have won contracts worth over £17 million to manufacture, install and operate two weather monitoring stations in the East Anglia wind farm zone. ScottishPower Renewables and Vattenfall awarded the contracts to Wood Group based in Aberdeen and Steel Engineering of Renfrewshire. The 1,000 tonnes of steel needed for the weather stations’ foundations will be manufactured at a new engineering plant on the outskirts of Glasgow, supporting 100 jobs.  

This month also saw the opening of a new offshore wind manufacturing facility at the Tata Steel plant in Hartlepool. The £2million Offshore Processing Centre will manufacture components such as steel tubing used to make jacket foundations for offshore turbines, safeguarding 700 jobs. 

Notes
 

  1. The total EU offshore capacity stands at 4.3GW and the total offshore capacity of Denmark stands at 867MW
  2. Sheringham Shoal officially opens today, 27 September and will have the capacity to power 220,000 homes.
  3. Ormonde Wind Farm, which opened on 19 September has the capacity to power 105,000 homes . Greater Gabbard, which started generating on 7 September, has enough capacity to power over 500,000 homes.  
  4. You can find out more about Sheringham Shoal by clicking here
  5. Further details on Ormonde Wind Farm can be found by clicking here and details of Greater Gabbard can be found byclicking here.
  6. The 1,700 jobs are distributed among these 3 projects:
    • Sheringham Shoal: 700 jobs in construction phase and 50 permanent jobs in maintaining and operating
    • Ormonde: 835 jobs in construction phase and 40 permanent jobs operating and maintaining
    • Greater Gabbard: an operations base set up employing 100 people.

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RenewableUK is the UK’s leading renewable energy trade association, specialising in onshore wind, offshore wind and wave & tidal energy. Formed in 1978, we have an established, large corporate membership ranging from small independent companies, to large international corporations and manufacturers. Acting as a central point of information and a united, representative voice for our membership, we conduct research; find solutions; organise events, facilitate business development, and promote wind and marine renewables to government, industry, the media and the public. Our vision is for renewable energy to play a leading role in powering the UK.