UK Energy Secretary says that UK needs to retain its global lead in offshore wind energy generation

November 6th, 2013 by RenewableUK

RenewableUK welcomed a ringing endorsement of the wind, wave and tidal energy industries by the UK Energy Secretary Edward Davey at the trade association’s annual conference in Birmingham.

Mr Davey used his speech to “confirm and reconfirm the UK Government’s commitment to renewable energy.”

He described onshore wind as “a huge success story and we should be proud of what’s been achieved.”

The UK Energy Secretary also highlighted the fact that the UK is the world leader in offshore wind generation, and stated “the UK needs to retain its global lead.”

He spoke of the UK Government’s ambition to achieve the “high end” of deployment offshore, making it clear that any concerns about reducing commitments on deployment levels were misplaced, as the UK has the potential for 39 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind by 2030.

He announced that four offshore wind projects will receive a share of £2.5 million of investment by the UK Government to develop technologies which will continue to drive down the cost of offshore wind energy.

Ricardo UK Ltd has been awarded £634,980 to develop and demonstrate its Offshore Wind Drivetrain Innovation technologies which are expected to increase the reliability and lifetime of drivetrains for large offshore wind systems.

Nottingham-based TetraFloat Ltd has been awarded £134,000 to validate and improve a novel floating platform design.

Blade Dynamics Ltd has been awarded £842,630 to design, evaluate, build and test an innovative composite wind turbine hub. This will reduce the loads on the entire turbine, tower and foundation, and SSE Renewables UK Ltd has been awarded a grant of £1 million for their National Offshore Wind Turbine Test Facility project. Among other things this will test foundations, logistics, and grid integration on Siemens 6MW pre-production turbine.

Mr Davey said that “marine energy has great potential” and that the UK “is one of the leading nations in marine energy.”

The UK’s Energy Secretary pointed out that “investment in innovation now will improve the affordability of the technologies we deploy in the future; reduce bills for households and businesses; and strengthen energy security.”

He said successful innovation could save up to £160 billion in energy supply costs to 2050, and contribute up to £89 billion to the UK economy over the same period.

Mr Davey described the renewable energy sector, which supports 35,000 green collar jobs, as “crucial to green growth and energy security.”

Mr Davey said that the capacity of renewables has increased by almost 40% since 2012, supplying over 15% of electricity – half way to the Government’s 2020 renewable electricity goals.

He predicted that “by 2020 we’ll be doing even better than 30%” of electricity from renewables.

The UK Energy Secretary said the private sector has announced investment of £31 billion in renewable electricity generation over the last three years, and described the UK as “one of the most attractive electricity investment markets anywhere in the world.”

Welcoming Mr Davey’s speech, RenewableUK’s Chief Executive Maria McCaffery said “in his keynote speech, Mr Davey made it clear that wind plays a crucial role in the UK’s energy portfolio and that role will continue to increase in importance in the years ahead.”

“The investment he announced is particularly timely, as we are straining every sinew to drive down the costs of offshore wind even further by encouraging innovation in areas where breakthroughs are taking place,” she said.

“The UK Energy Secretary is right to highlight the number of green collar jobs we’ve created, which will increase by thousands in the years to come as long as the UK Government remains supportive.”

“His ringing endorsement of this British success story shows that wind is the cornerstone of this country’s clean energy future,” Mrs McCaffery said.

New evidence published on 5 November 2013 showing that public support for renewables remains strong. The Department of Energy and Climate Change released the latest wave of results in its Public Attitudes Tracker, which assesses public opinion on renewables four times a year.

Support for generating electricity from renewables remains high at 76% (with only 4% of people opposing). 66% support the development of onshore wind. Support for offshore wind stands at 72%, and wave & tidal energy at 71%.


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