UK built half of Europe’s offshore wind power in 2017. Capacity is growing fast and turbines getting bigger – some almost as large as the Shard. Britain accounted for more than half of the new offshore wind power capacity built in Europe last year, as the sector broke installation records across the continent. In total the UK installed 53% of the net 3.15GW of capacity installed across Europe, which beat the previous record of 2015, according to industry body WindEurope. At present, there is a cumulative capacity of 15.78GW of offshore wind, which is predicted to reach 25GW by 2020. Longer term, the UK is expected to retain its top spot by 2030, followed by Germany, the Netherlands, and France taking fourth spot from Denmark as it invests in floating turbines. Offshore wind has been largely supported by government auctions of a guaranteed price of power to developers. In the UK they fell to record lows in the last year, although the sector will need such top-up contracts for years to come. Separately, ministers were urged by 10 groups to reveal plans for supporting small-scale renewables, such as solar panels on household and business rooftops. The current feed-in tariff scheme was cut heavily in 2016 by the UK government, and is due to end in 2019. The government is exploring how to encourage small-scale, low carbon power but has yet to publish its plans. The uncertainty is hitting investor confidence, said groups representing the big six energy firms, landowners and the renewables industry.
Guardian 6th Feb 2018 read more »