Turbine blades waiting for installation

Member Country Activities for the United Kingdom

The United Kingdom (UK) increased its land-based and offshore wind capacity throughout 2014. Land-based capacity increased by 11% to over 8 GW and offshore capacity increased by over 20% to over 4 GW. The higher rate of growth of offshore wind is expected to continue and is forecast to reach 10 GW of installed offshore wind capacity by 2020. Electricity generated from wind was approximately 9% of the total electricity generated in the UK, delivering 31 TWh of electricity onto the national grid in 2014.

The UK has approximately 40% of Europe's entire wind resource and has significant potential for both land-based and offshore wind. The 2009 Renewable Energy Directive sets a target for the UK to achieve 15% of its energy consumption from renewable sources by 2020. The renewable energy mix used to achieve this target is not defined but both offshore and land-based wind has already made a significant contribution to achieving this target.

In 2014 the UK government implemented the final stages of a significant new framework for the electricity generation sector with the first allocation of contracts under the Contract for Difference (CfD) scheme. Over 3 GW of offshore wind capacity were allocated and the first auctions for further contracts will take place in early 2015.

The Cost Reduction Monitoring Framework (CRMF) was also implemented in 2014 and the first report identified an 11% reduction in levelized cost of energy (LCOE) between 2011 and 2014. The CRMF reported that the average LCOE of projects with a successful financial investment decision (FID) between 2012 and 2014 was 121 Great Brittan Pound (GBP)/MWh (155 EUR/MWh; 189 USD/MWh). It concluded that the offshore wind sector was on target to reach an LCOE of 100 GBP/MWh (129 EUR/MWh; 156 USD/MWh) for projects reaching FID in 2020.

Progress is also being made in the supply chain. Siemens and Associated British Ports (ABP) committed to invest over 300 million GBP (386 million EUR; 468 million USD) to build a turbine blade factory and service operation center at Green Port Hull. This factory and operation center will provide around 1,000 jobs. MHI Vestas announced its intention for serial production of 80-m blades, safeguarding or creating up to 800 jobs, to commence on the Isle of Wight.

The UK continues to play a leading role in technology innovation and cost reduction of wind energy. The merger of the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult in Glasgow and the National Renewable Energy Centre in Blyth has created a champion for the development and testing of technology innovation for the sector.

In terms of investment opportunities, the UK has held its place as the number one country for Offshore Wind in the Ernst Young Renewable Energy Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index.