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UK offshore wind capacity increases 79% in one year

The offshore wind industry has experienced a record-breaking year in terms of new deployment according to RenewableUK’s latest annual report, Wind Energy in the UK.

The study, which assessed the state of the wind industry from July 2012 to June 2013, revealed a step-change in the offshore wind sector.

Installed capacity stood at 3,321 MW at the end of June 2013, up from 1,858 MW 12 months earlier – an increase of 79 per cent.

Four large-scale offshore projects went operational during the 12-month period covered by the report – Greater Gabbard, Gunfleet Sands III, Sheringham Shoal and London Array, which is currently the biggest offshore wind farm in the world at 630 MW.

The 1,463 MW installed offshore marks the first year in which offshore deployment has outstripped onshore wind. New onshore wind capacity totalling 1,258 MW came into operation, bringing the total installed onshore to 6,389 MW – an increase of 25 per cent.

However, as the report notes, there are concerns within the wind industry about levels of political support and the government’s ambition for the sector, leading to a decline in confidence.

Despite this, there is a substantial pipeline of projects under construction, approved but not yet built, and in planning.

RenewableUK chief executive Maria McCaffery said: We’ve smashed another record in the past year with more offshore wind installed than ever before – the 79 per cent increase in capacity within 12 months is a terrific achievement.

It’s tangible proof of the dedication of thousands of Britons who are working tirelessly to generate electricity from a clean, homegrown source at a cost that we can control, increasing the UK’s energy security.

Tens of thousands more will be joining the industry over the rest of this decade as we build out the rest of the projects in the pipeline – as long as government policy is supportive and provides the right framework for one of this country’s greatest modern industrial and environmental success stories to reach its full potential”.

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