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2018 was a record year for UK offshore wind

18/12/2018
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According to RenewableUK, more than 2GW of new offshore wind capacity has been installed off the Great British coast in the last twelve months - a record breaking volume for the UK.

The Walney Extension is the world's largest operation offshore wind farm, with a capacity of 659MW and contributed to the UK's record year of offshore wind deployment
(Walney Offshore Windfarm - image via geograph.org)

The total capacity of 2121MW is almost double the previous record of 1154MW set in 2012 - and was achieved with just an 18% increase in turbine installations. 

Eight new offshore wind farms were built this year totaling 367 machines. 2012’s output came from a total of 309 new machines. 

R-UK explained “Since 2012 the average capacity of an offshore turbine has grown over 50% from 3.7MW to 5.8MW this year.”

The new projects seen this year include the world’s largest operational offshore wind farm, Walney Extension, located in the Irish Sea off the coast of Cumbria. The farm covers a 73km2 area, and alone has a capacity of 659MW. 

2018 also saw deployment of the world’s second floating offshore wind farm, Kincardine, 15km off the coast of Aberdeenshire. This project uses turbines mounted on WindFloat semi-submersible platforms designed by Principle Power, which allow them to operate in deeper waters, further offshore. First power was achieved in October, with the 50MW farm due to be fully operational in 2020.

Other significant projects include the Rampion and Race Bank farms, with a capacity of 400MW and 573MW respectively.

The total amount of energy in offshore capacity for 2018 is enough to power over 2,300,000 homes throughout the year.

2018 was a record year for the UK's offshore wind deployment, almost doubling the previous record from 2012
(Image via RenewableUK)

RenewableUK’s Executive Director Emma Pinchbeck said: “We’re thrilled that we’ve absolutely smashed previous records and installed more new offshore wind power stations than ever before.

“This is just the beginning of the great shift to renewables. By 2030, offshore wind could be generating more than a third of the UK’s entire electricity needs, with 30 gigawatts up and running. The industry would attract £48 billion in investment by the end of the next decade and employ 27,000 people in highly-skilled jobs.”

More projects are planned for next year which could see 2019 produce an even bigger volume. Major deployments such as the 588MW Beatrice farm in Moray Firth will be going fully operational, with construction continuing on the 714MW East Anglia ONE and massive 1,218MW Hornsea Project One off the Yorkshire coast - both of which will be fully operational by 2020. 

A greater use of larger turbines with over 8GW in capacity will also be used in the next twelve months, encouraging another increase in rates of capacity over infrastructure.

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