Arup study illustrates scale of potential for the development of UK offshore wind

Chris Tutton Chris Tutton UKIMEA Press office,London
25 May 2022

A new Arup study on the future of offshore wind has illustrated the potential scale for future deployment on the UK seas and is helping to understand and address how we best manage the various demands on our marine environment.

The Future Offshore Wind Scenarios (FOWS) report is intended to support the future development of offshore wind by illustrating the complex factors that must be balanced within the marine environment, including consideration of the cost of energy.

The study - commissioned by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), The Crown Estate and Crown Estate Scotland, and carried out by Arup with support from ORE Catapult and ABPmer - provides the first illustrative framework for how the UK could deploy sufficient offshore wind to meet net zero.

FOWS provides illustrative spatial scenarios for offshore wind development to 2050. These investigate the potential implications for future relative deployment costs and offshore wind technology choices, in interaction with the environment, other infrastructure, and marine industries such as shipping and fishing.

The study is a significant addition to the evidence base informing the future outlook for the offshore wind sector. It highlights the complexity of demands on the marine space and the holistic thinking that will be required to secure the UK’s clean energy future and increase the country’s energy independence.

The insights gained from FOWS will inform decisions about the UK’s offshore energy future, including the UK Government’s Marine Spatial Prioritisation Programme, which is gathering further data and building evidence, using this study as an important reference point.

The report was delivered using Arup’s SCALE digital modelling tool – which has been developed to enable better decision making around site selection, helping to support and speed up the roll out of offshore wind in the UK.

UK offshore wind UK offshore wind
The study provides the first illustrative framework for how the UK could deploy sufficient offshore wind to meet net zero.

Energy Minister Greg Hands said: "We are already a world leader in offshore wind. This report will help inform the UK's future deployment of renewable energy, reducing our exposure to volatile global gas prices and boosting our energy security."

Will Apps, Head of Development – Marine, The Crown Estate said: “Offshore wind is set to play a pivotal role in the UK's 2050 energy system and net zero transition - but delivering on that potential will require balanced and holistic consideration of other marine activities and the natural environment. This study, supported through our Offshore Wind Evidence and Change programme, for the first time places the nation’s net zero offshore wind ambitions into a spatial context, providing an excellent evidence base for policymakers, the industry and broader stakeholders, to use as they work together to deliver this potential, vital for UK energy security and the green economy.”

Colin MacIver, Head of Offshore Wind Development for Crown Estate Scotland said: “The opportunities for the UK’s offshore wind sector to help deliver on net-zero are clear. Our recent experience with the ScotWind Leasing round – which could provide enough green electricity to supply every home in Scotland - has demonstrated the appetite of developers to invest in clean energy. It will be important that we continue to work together in order to realise the tremendous potential and provide a just transition for all.”

Download the Future Offshore Wind Scenarios report

The UK has ambitious plans for the offshore wind industry as we strive to reach net zero. For us to make the most of this technology and increase capacity to the levels we need, careful consideration is needed to understand the cost and interactions of different deployment options. Our modelling is an important step in understanding and quantifying these interactions and offers a tool to be able to test different scenarios to support future stakeholder engagement. ” Clare Lavelle Clare Lavelle Scotland Energy Leader, Arup