RenewableUK is highlighting the publication today of a new report by the Government’s Offshore Wind Champion, Tim Pick, which contains a series of key recommendations to speed up the rate at which the UK secures much-needed new offshore wind capacity and builds up new supply chains around the UK.

In his “Independent report of the Offshore Wind Champion – Seizing our Opportunities”, published by the Department for Net Zero and Energy Security, Tim Pick states: “If you take just one message from this report, it should be the urgent need to upgrade our national grid for a world of high renewables penetration, and widespread electrification of homes and businesses. Grid connections are increasingly becoming the rate-limiting factor for our offshore wind deployment going forward.”

As a key step towards achieving grid upgrades, he says: “Ofgem’s mandate needs updating, to give proper weight to the legally binding Net Zero by 2050 commitment, as well as interim policy waypoints such as the objective to have a decarbonised power system by 2035.”

He also notes that: “In the shorter term, we do still have a significant pipeline of offshore wind projects which have or can secure grid access. To accelerate these we need to finalise the planning and environmental reforms contained in the Energy Security Bill, Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill, and NSIP Action Plan, and then ensure that those reforms are promptly and effectively operationalised.”

Mr Pick suggests that these measures should be reinforced by an Industrial Growth Plan for Offshore Wind. He also recommends setting deployment targets for 2035, 2040 and 2050 to boost private investment and grow new supply chains. The UK currently has 13.66 gigawatts of offshore wind capacity installed, and a Government target to reach 50GW by 2030.   

He also recommends that: “In light of its importance to the UK’s Energy Security, the Government should consider offshore wind as a priority industry for significant long term innovation funding, in line with sectors such as civil nuclear.

Commenting on the report, Jessica Hooper, Director of RenewableUK Cymru, said:

“We welcome today’s report from Mr Pick and fully support his recommendations.  He has highlighted several key issues, such as lack of grid availability, investment into ports and the need to move fast to seize first-mover advantage. 

“Although many of the issues he raises will be matters for UK Government to implement, we will be speaking to Welsh Government to see what this means for Wales, and how we can work together to ensure Wales fully benefits from the opportunities offshore wind presents.”

The Offshore Wind Champion’s report is available here