Offshore wind leads renewables surge as UK pushes for energy security and low-carbon power, says Energy Industries Council report.
The UK energy market is shifting its focus to renewable energy in response to Russian sanctions and growing concerns over fossil fuels, reveals the latest data from the Energy Industries Council (EIC), the world’s leading energy trade association and purveyor of timely and actionable data, events, insights, and analyses.
According to the EIC’s UK Operational Insight Report 2022, the country saw a surge in renewable energy installations last year, driven by concerns over energy security and the need for affordable low-carbon power.
The report shows that offshore wind dominated the UK’s renewables market, with an installed capacity of 3.2GW in 2022. Onshore wind capacity was also installed across seven small-scale wind farms, while a 50MW South Farm Solar PV Project and three small-scale energy-from-waste projects came online in 2022. Tees Renewable Energy Plant (REP) in the Port of Teesside, one of the world’s largest biomass plants, is expected to come online in 2023 after experiencing several delays due to COVID.
The UK now has 44 operational offshore wind farms with a combined capacity of 14.5GW, with approximately 2,679 wind turbines, the report said, adding that there are also more than 550 operational onshore wind farms in the country with a combined capacity of 15.2GW. Approximately 60% of this capacity is in Scotland, with the rest being spread across England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
According to the report, the installed nuclear capacity in the country decreased due to the decommissioning of several reactors, and coal-fired units were extended to ensure energy availability during winter. The report also indicated that although the government aims to increase nuclear capacity, the industry faces some challenges, including high costs, complex regulatory requirements, in addition to concerns over waste management and safety.
“It’s necessary to have a strategic focus on offshore wind, solar, hydrogen and nuclear sectors to achieve net zero by 2050 and meet the UK’s energy security needs,” said Rebecca Groundwater, EIC’s head of External Affairs, said. “Maximizing the UK’s installed capacity of domestically sourced power is also critical to achieving energy independence and reducing dependence on Russian oil and gas. This can only happen through enabling the energy industry as a whole and supporting its supply chain companies by ensuring speedy licensing processes and robust financing schemes are in place.”
The report indicated that the UK is also a leading country in the carbon capture market. The UK has been developing policies and investment mechanisms to establish a highly capable CCUS supply chain, the report said.
“Provided it can rollout the necessary policies and investment required to establish a resilient supply chain and a sizeable portfolio of operational projects, the UK has the potential to be a world leader in the global CCUS market,” said Neil Golding, the EIC’s head of Market Intelligence. “This could be a real opportunity for the UK to help other European countries decarbonise, particularly those that don’t have the necessary storage capacity, especially given the country’s well-established oil and gas supply chains and large offshore storage capacity in the North Sea.”
Mr Golding added: “The Government should also address the challenges in the nuclear power sector surrounding skills, development costs, and supply-chain capabilities to accelerate the transition towards a more secure and sustainable energy future.”
To download the full report, please visit: https://www.the-eic.com/MediaCentre/Publications/Reports