Welcome to IEA Wind Member Country Activities for the
United Kingdom

The United Kingdom (UK) has approximately 40% of Europe's entire wind resource and significant potential for both onshore and offshore wind. The UK government has put in place a range of measures to enable the deployment of that potential resource and is committed to ensuring the further growth of wind generation in the UK. The UK signed up in 2009 to a European Union (EU) target of 20% of primary energy (electricity, heat, and transport) from renewables sources. The UK contribution to that target is 15% by 2020. Wind will be an important contributor to this target. Figure 1 shows Griffin wind farm near Perth, Scotland, completed in 2012 with a total installed capacity of 156.4 MW.

In 2012, total wind capacity in the UK was 8.29 GW, representing approximately 6% of the UK’s national electricity demand, an increase of 1.8 GW from the 2011 figure (a 27% increase). A significant increase in electricity generation from wind was seen in 2012 in the UK, from 15.5 TWh in 2011 to 21.8 TWh in 2012 (40% increase).

The 2020 UK Renewable Energy Roadmap was published by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) in July 2011. The Roadmap sets out a path as to how the country intends to fulfill its obligation to the EU of sourcing 15% of its energy from renewables by 2020. While the Roadmap follows the Renewable Energy Strategy of 2009 and the 2010 update, some notable changes were made in terms of wind energy deployment scenarios. The current central scenario for offshore wind sees scope for 18 GW by 2020. The headline scenario for onshore wind is for 13 GW by 2020.

The publication of the Roadmap led to the formation of a DECC-sponsored Offshore Wind Cost Reduction Taskforce (CRTF), which was tasked with producing a list of actions to ensure that the industry would reach 100 GBP/MWh (112.3 EUR/MWh; 162.6 USD/MWh) by 2020. The CRTF, comprising senior industry professionals, held a series of evidence-gathering meetings focusing on key areas for costs reductions. The group also looked in detail at the results of The Crown Estate’s Cost Reduction Pathways Project. The CRTF’s report was launched on 13 June 2012 at RenewableUK’s Global Offshore Conference and Exhibition. The report found that 100 GBP/MWh (112.3 EUR/MWh; 162.6 USD/MWh) by 2020 was challenging, but achievable if the 28 recommendations in the report were delivered.

The government’s response to the Renewable Obligation (RO) Banding Review, published on 25 July 2012, set out support levels for onshore wind from April 2013. The government confirmed its intention to reduce the level of support to 0.9 Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs)/MWh from 1 April 2013–31 March 2017. Offshore wind RO banding levels were maintained at 2 ROCs to April 2015, 1.9 ROCs to April 2016, and 1.8 ROCs to April 2017.

In his speech on 11 September 2012, the Department for Business, Innovation, and Skills (BIS) Secretary of State Vince Cable set out his vision for the future of British industry and committed to a long-term, strategic partnership between government and industry. DECC Secretary of State Ed Davey welcomed the proposals, particularly their potential to enhance low-carbon infrastructure in the UK.

As part of this government-wide industrial strategy program, there are plans for a series of collaborative, challenging sector strategies. One of these sector strategies will focus on offshore wind—one of the ten sectors with which government intends to establish a strategic partnership to have real impact on economic growth.

The Low Carbon Innovation Co-ordination Group (LCICG) will continue to work together, investing in excess of 100 million GBP (112.3 million EUR; 162.6 million USD) in this spending review period, in a number of activities to promote the development of innovative offshore wind technologies. This includes the establishment of the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult Centre and the ongoing work of the DECC and Technology Strategy Board (TSB) Offshore Wind Components Technology Scheme, offshore wind feasibility studies and knowledge transfer partnerships, with a combined budget of 21 million GBP (23 million EUR; 34 million USD), aimed to bring cost-lowering ideas into the UK supply chain. Read the entire report here.