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First economic valuation of UK offshore resource points way to UK becoming net exporter of electricity

A new report from the Offshore Valuation Group concludes that the offshore renewable energy industry in the UK - using less than a third of the total available resource - could generate the electricity equivalent of 1 billion barrels of oil annually, matching North Sea oil and gas production.

In addition it suggested that:

  • the UK's offshore sector could create 145,000 new jobs in the UK and provide the UK Treasury with £28 billion in tax revenues annually;
  • Britain could become a net electricity exporter.

The Offshore Valuation Group says its report is the "first comprehensive valuation of the UK’s offshore renewable energy resource over the long-term that explicitly assesses electricity exports to Europe".

It is widely acknowledged that within Europe, Britain holds the largest resource of offshore wind, wave and tidal power.

The Offshore Valuation reveals that rapid development of the UK’s offshore resource – using fixed wind, floating wind, tidal stream, tidal range, and wave technologies – could by 2050 generate an amount of electricity equivalent to a billion barrels of oil per year, or the same as the average annual output of UK North Sea oil and gas production seen over the past four decades. If developed still further to tap their full practical potential, offshore renewables would allow the UK to power itself six times over at current levels of demand.

The report sets out a number of key enablers for Government and industry to ensure the UK is on a
path that allows it to access its substantial and valuable resource:

  • Make Round 3 offshore wind grid connections ‘super-grid compliant’ to avoid locking out potential future electricity sales to Europe;
  • Take a leadership role in the current EU super-grid negotiations, to ensure that the UK derives maximum value from its design and implementation;
  • Continue to develop the UK supply chain as key to deployment at scale and least cost;
  • Develop new financing structures that complement the fundamental features of renewable energy infrastructure and can support the scale and speed of industrial growth required.

RenewableUK, one of the UK’s leading renewable energy trade associations, welcomed the publication of The Offshore Valuation. Peter Madigan, Head of Offshore Renewables said, “this is a hugely exciting piece of research which sets out compelling factual evidence of the huge potential of the UK’s offshore renewable energy resource. As an association we have long been saying that the North Sea will become the Saudi Arabia of wind energy, and today’s tonne of oil and employment comparisons amply bear this out. Just as 30 years ago, the North Sea could be our ticket for economic growth.”

The Offshore Valuation Group comprises the following organisations: The Department of Energy
and Climate Change (DECC)
, the Welsh Assembly Government, the Scottish Government, The Crown
Estate
, the Energy Technologies Institute, Scottish & Southern Energy (SSE), RWE Innogy, E.ON, DONG
Energy
, Statoil, Vestas, Mainstream Renewable Power (MRP), and Renewable Energy Systems (RES). The study also received funding from the Committee on Climate Change.

 

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This article is featured in:
Energy infrastructure  •  Other marine energy and hydropower  •  Policy, investment and markets  •  Wave and tidal energy  •  Wind power

 

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