Offshore Wind In the United Kingdom Picks Up Speed

The United Kingdom (U.K.) includes the countries of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The current population of the U.K. is estimated to be 66.76 million people. In 2017, power plants used fossil fuels (48.4%), renewable energy (30.2%) and nuclear energy (21.4%) to generate electricity in the U.K. Natural gas was the primary energy source in the fossil fuel power plants and wind was the primary renewable energy source.

The U.K. is committed to moving from fossil fuels to renewable energy. The U.K.’s Coalition Government has made the development of new onshore wind farms, offshore wind farms and marine power projects a priority. In 2018, over 2,000 MW of offshore wind farms became operational in U.K. territorial waters. The U.K. leads the world in total offshore wind capacity.

The areally small, densely populated U.K. doesn’t have the hydropower potential of the Scandinavian countries or the solar potential of the southern European countries. However, the U.K. is aggressively pursuing the development of the region’s most significant renewable energy, wind. Offshore wind is forecast to generate over 30% of the U.K.’s electricity by 2030.

The United States has even greater offshore wind energy potential than the U.K. However, the U.S. has only one offshore wind farm off the coast of Rhode Island. Although more wind farms are planned off the eastern seaboard of the U.S. virtually nothing is planned for the west coast of the U.S. In my opinion, the U.S. should look to the U.K. as an example of how to develop our countries offshore wind resources.

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