The UK will not meet its offshore wind targets without urgent action from Whitehall and Holyrood administrations, SSE Renewables has warned.
Director of capital projects Paul Cooley says business as usual from government is “not an option” if it wants to reach 40GW by 2030.
The firm, which alongside Equinor is constructing the 3.6GW Dogger Bank project and has a 7GW offshore pipeline, has mapped out an action plan.
Market reform and offshore grid
SSE said market reform is required given the risk that negative power prices pose to investors. It urged government to start designing a new framework via the White Paper expected this year.
It said CfD rounds are required every year, instead of every two years, avoiding costs associated with rushes and bottlenecks.
Lowering barriers to planning consent are also high on the developer’s list. EU regulations on wildlife conservation add complexity to securing consent for offshore locations, argues SSE.
Clearer derogation from Brussels’ Habitat Directive, plus initiatives in strategic planning from the UK and Scottish governments can restore simplicity, while guaranteeing effective protection of species, the plan suggests.
Meanwhile, an offshore grid will be required, rather than piecemeal connections. Anticipatory grid investment will be needed, per the plan.
Government should also create a framework for floating offshore wind, which will be required to hit the 2030 target and beyond said SSE. However, the firm said the framework must recognise it will not be able to compete with fixed bottom turbines.
“We need vital enabling actions to meet this new 2030 target,” said Cooley. “If we fail to remove the barriers to deployment now, we risk failing in the nation’s wider goals”.
The Committee on Climate Change states that 75GW of offshore generation may be needed by 2050, if the Uk is to meet net zero.
See SSE’s roadmap here.