Seabed riches stranded: UK struggles to connect the dots on offshore wind grid

A new report by the UK Offshore Wind Champion suggests a series of recommendations to boost the UK’s offshore wind capacity and build new supply chains

Upgrading the national grid is urgently needed for a world of high renewables penetration and widespread electrification of homes and businesses. 

That’s the suggestion from Tim Pick, the UK Offshore Wind Champion, who published his much-anticipated report on the current state of the sector.

The report outlines a series of key strategies designed to expedite progress in this sector, delivering much-needed renewable energy to the country and boosting the nation’s economic growth.

Mr Pick has said there is no need to establish a new regulator for offshore wind, but the UK needs to update Ofgem’s mandate to align with net zero 2050 and decarbonisation by 2035.

The UK Offshore Wind Champion has also recommended focusing on seizing the opportunity to develop the new floating offshore wind industry by supporting innovation R&D and investment in port infrastructure.

RenewableUK’s Chief Executive Officer Dan McGrail also pointed out that the report highlights the need to speed up the planning and connection process for offshore wind projects, as well as giving Ofgem a mandate to invest in net zero infrastructure.

Currently, it can take over a decade to get a new wind farm up and running, which is time the UK doesn’t have to meet its goal of a cheap and clean power system.

Scottish Renewables Chief Executive Officer, Claire Mack, supports Tim Pick’s call for urgent action on grid connections for offshore wind.

Mack agrees that grid connections are the main bottleneck for the sector and stresses the need for a rapid expansion of electricity infrastructure.

Mack also highlights the need for reform of regulator Ofgem, investment in port infrastructure and recognition of project cost pressures.

Richard Sandford, Co-Chair of the Offshore Wind Industry Council said: “Offshore wind must continue to excel at a time when global competition for expertise and resources to plan, invest in, and build has never been greater.”

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