The UK installed a record 3,193 MW of offshore wind capacity in 2022 as three large projects went fully online and eclipsed the previous annual high of 2,125 MW observed in 2018, according to research by RenewableUK.
Total wind installations were 3,511 MW, meaning that only 318 MW of turbines were installed onshore.
The onshore installations were spread across 10 projects, six of which, totalling 314 MW, were built in Scotland. There was also one 2.5-MW project in Wales, one two-turbine project with an overall capacity of 1 MW in England, and two in Northern Ireland for 0.5 MW of capacity.
RenewableUK used the occasion to call for planning reforms for increased deployment both onshore and offshore. In its energy security strategy, the UK government set a target of processing offshore planning applications in 12 months, compared to up to four years currently. In December, the UK government also launched a consultation on planning changes in England which could allow the development of more new capacity in areas where the public wants it. Planning reforms are further underway in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, the industry group noted.
“In all parts of the UK, including Scotland, investors are highlighting the planning system as a major block on developing onshore new wind farms. Onshore wind is one of our cheapest sources of new power and the government’s own polling shows that four-fifths of the public support it,” said RenewableUK’s chief executive Dan McGrail.
He also said that the UK should significantly step up the pace of offshore consenting to stay on track for the government’s objective of quadrupling offshore capacity by 2030.
In 2021, only one offshore project of 48 MW was fully commissioned, while 370 MW of wind capacity was added onshore.
Ørsted’s 1.3-GW Hornsea Two, RWE’s majority-owned 857-MW Triton Knoll, and the 950-MW Moray East, majority owned by Ocean Winds, are the three offshore wind farms fully commissioned UK waters last year.
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