Welcome to IEA Wind Member Country Activities for the
United States 2011
The United Kingdom (UK) has approximately 40% of Europe's entire wind resource and significant potential for both onshore and offshore wind. The UK government has put in place a range of measures to enable the deployment of that potential resource and is committed to ensuring the further growth of wind generation in the UK. The UK signed up in 2009 to an EU target of 20% of primary energy (electricity, heat, and transport) from renewables sources. The UK contribution to that target is 15% by 2020. Wind will be an important contributor to this target.
In 2011, total wind capacity in the UK was 6.47 GW, representing 4.24% of the UK’s national electricity demand, an increase of 1.09 GW from the 2010 figure (a 20% increase) (1). A significant increase in electricity generation from wind was seen in 2011 in the UK. The largest absolute increase in generation was from onshore wind, rising from 7.1 TWh in 2010 to 10.4 TWh in 2011 (30% increase), partly due to increased capacity, but mainly due to much higher wind speeds (1.4 knots higher than in 2010). Also as result of increased capacity and high wind speeds, offshore wind generation increased by 68%, from 3.0 TWh in 2010 to 5.1 TWh in 2011 (a 68% increase).
The government is committed to driving the deployment of renewable electricity and other forms of low-carbon electricity generation. During 2011, the Electricity Market Reform (EMR) White Paper was published, which set out key measures to attract investment, reduce the impact on consumer bills, and create a secure mix of electricity sources including gas, new nuclear, renewables, and carbon capture and storage. Other key advances in 2011 are listed below.
The UK Renewables Energy Roadmap (2): Published in July, this set out a comprehensive action plan to accelerate the UK’s deployment and use of renewable energy, and put us on the path to achieve our 2020 target, while driving down the cost of renewable energy over time. It identifies the eight technologies (including onshore and offshore wind) that have either the greatest potential to help the UK meet the 2020 target in a cost-effective and sustainable way, or offer great potential for the decades that follow.
Offshore wind Cost Reduction Task Force: As announced in the Renewables Roadmap, significant cost reduction was identified as being required in order to maximize the potential size of the sector. To help achieve this, an industry led task force was established to set out an action plan for cost reduction to 2020. The task force will drive the work necessary to realize the vision of reaching 100 GBP/MW/h (113 EUR/MW/h; 162 USD/MW/h) for offshore wind and will report to the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) Ministers and Devolved Administration Ministers by Spring 2012.
Renewables Obligations Banding Review: The government and devolved administrations undertook consultations on proposals for the levels of banded support available for renewable electricity generations under the Renewables Obligation (RO) for the period 2013-2017. Separate consultations took place for England and Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.
Green Investment Bank: Work continued to prepare the Green Investment Bank for its opening in 2012. The Green Investment Bank is designed to accelerate private sector investment in the UK’s transition to a green economy. Offshore wind power generation, commercial and industrial waste processing and recycling, energy from waste generation, non-domestic energy efficiency, and support for the Green Deal will be the first priority sectors for the bank, subject to approval by the European Commission. It will work to simulate the deployment of private sector capital and debt. In this way it can play a key role in facilitating accelerated investment in the development and construction phases of projects, potentially enabling initiatives which may not otherwise have been able to proceed.
Investor Conference: In London a conference was held with potential investors (such as pension funds, investment funds, and sovereign wealth funds) in offshore wind projects to establish what can be done to increase investment in this area. The UK needs around 200 billion GBP (225 billion EUR; 291 billion USD) of investment in new energy infrastructure to help reduce dependence on imported fossil fuels and boost our energy security. Much of this will need to come from sources beyond the UK’s current major energy suppliers.
Aviation and Radar: During 2011, a Second Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) Aviation Plan was signed. Wind turbines can have a significant effect on radar, which in turn is a major barrier to deployment in the UK. The signatories to the MOU commit to working together to implement the Aviation Plan and to ensure the timely and effective delivery of solutions to mitigate the effects of wind turbines on aviation. The goal is to promote the deployment of wind energy generation, whilst taking all necessary steps to protect air safety and air defense requirements.
Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult: A competition was run by the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) to form an Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, one of a new network technology and innovation centers aiming to transform the UK’s capability for innovation in seven specific sectors and to help drive sustainable economic growth in those areas. The Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult will focus on technologies for offshore wind, wave, and tidal stream power generation. It will help to commercialize the best outputs of Britain’s world-class research base and facilitate business access to testing facilities and expertise to help commercialize new and emerging technologies that can capture a share of emerging global markets.
Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA): A novel turbine foundation design for North Sea conditions – the Keystone ‘twisted jacket’ – was successfully demonstrated 100km offshore in 30m water depths at the Hornsea zone to support a met mast; this is the first of four foundations identified in a 2009 competition to be demonstrated.
Planning and Consenting Task Force: A short-life planning and consenting task force was established in October 2011 to bring together offshore renewable developers with marine Scotland and environmental regulators to produce a report promoting greater streamlining and efficiency of Scotland’s marine planning and consenting regimes. The aim being to enable Scotland to meet its offshore renewable ambitions, as set out in the 2020 Routemap for Renewable Energy in Scotland. In April 2011 the Scottish government initiated a one-stop-shop for offshore wind, wave, and tidal developers to obtain consents and licenses in Scottish waters.