The UK could expand its offshore wind capacity to almost five times its current level by 2030, creating the potential to power millions of homes, according to a new study.
The report, commissioned by trade body WindEurope and conducted by BVG Associates, found a total capacity of at least 25 gigawatts (GW) could be installed in UK waters by the end of the next decade compared with the current level of 5.355GW. That would be enough to power more than 20m homes, or 75 per cent of all households in the UK, according to RenewablesUK.
WindEurope said offshore wind is expected to produce seven to 11 per cent of the EU's electricity demand by 2030, but that's only a fraction of what's available in the European sea basins.
Using larger offshore wind turbines - 13GW compared with the current maximum of 8GW - and expanding floating offshore wind farms, the UK would retain its status as the global leader in offshore wind.
The report, Unleashing Europe's Offshore Wind Potential, said the UK was the nation with the most economically attractive offshore wind resources for development by 2030. They were seen three times better than the runner up, Denmark.
Giles Dickson, chief executive of WindEurope said: “The report confirms that the cost reduction seen in offshore wind over the last two years could translate into significant volumes of clean, competitive and reliable power for the UK by 2030.
"The UK should factor this into their long-term energy planning. We need to see a deployment of at least 4GW per year in Europe for offshore wind to maintain its cost reduction trend. This would allow offshore wind to be competitive with conventional power before very long."