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September 14, 2022

Is the Cornish power industry blowing off its cobwebs?

By 2035, wind will almost completely replace oil and coal-generated power in the UK.

By GlobalData Thematic Research

The energy crisis has the United Kingdom teetering on the edge of a national recession. Wind power is the solution.

The fallout from the nation’s refusal of Russian resources highlights a need for national independence from external sources of non-renewable power. Offshore wind development across the southern coast offers an opportunity to progress towards sustainable power generation and relinquish dependence on fossil fuel giants. This transition will drastically reduce and stabilise businesses’ energy costs, creating a cleaner, brighter future.

Cornwall – the engine of wind power

With a pipeline capacity of 32MW and the potential to power 45,000 homes, the Cornwall Offshore Wind Farm on the Celtic Sea is paving the way for an energy revolution in the UK. Site development commences next year and the powerplant is expected to go live in 2027, powering more than twice the number of homes in its county. Cornwall is undergoing a new industrial revolution, with wind promising to become the new successor to tin mining as a core industry, offering great economic prospects for the county.

Cornwall is just the start. Prospective reforms to the UK planning policy, as part of the British Energy Security Strategy, will cut the required approval times from four years to one, drastically facilitating the development of many new plants across the UK. This strategy aims for 95% of energy production to be low carbon by 2030, complementing the UK’s aim of achieving net zero greenhouse emissions by 2050. These targets, while ambitious, are now essential amid the energy crisis, and wind power will be a vital contributor.

Offshore wind will power half of the UK

Wind is the current leading source of cumulative global renewable power. With its installed capacity expected to increase by 75% in the next eight years, GlobalData’s Market Forecast predicts that wind-generated power will take a 28% share of the global market. However, the UK is moving ahead of the times. 27% of all power nationally is already harnessed from wind, and this is predicted to double by 2030. The dramatic changes in regulation and prioritisation of funding directed into the development of offshore wind power plants are the key catalyst for this. By 2035, wind will almost completely replace oil and coal-generated power, contributing 52% of the UK’s energy production, with 70% of this generated offshore. This renewable revolution will push wind-generated power to become the leading source of energy across the nation.

Businesses in the UK will benefit

Overall, the UK’s renewables percentage share will increase by 17.95% to 47% by 2035, with nearly $9bn being invested this year in offshore wind. This has facilitated the planning and development of many new plants across the coast of the British Isles. The British Energy Security Strategy predicts that this continued investment in clean industries in the UK will generate up to 480,000 new jobs by 2030 – a significant national growth for the renewable power industry.

Upcoming technological hurdles

However, the future is not green yet. Gas sources will still contribute 16.7% of UK power due to the reliability issues associated with sustainable power – constant supplies of wind power cannot be depended upon to meet the nation’s energy demands. National growth in nuclear and bio-power is expected to bridge this gap, contributing 5.4% and 15.4% of the UK’s energy by 2035, respectively. But such sources do not address the underlying problem. Storage capacity is the main limit on renewable energy’s progression, but development is underway. GlobalData’s Patent Analytics highlights this, with more than 20,000 new energy storage patents being filed in relation to wind power. While this hurdle has delayed the transition to sustainable power sources for many countries, it is clear from the new environmental targets that investment is prioritised towards overcoming any blockages in the UK’s green evolution. With the rising cost of living and energy caps not in place for businesses, the prioritisation of more sustainable and cost-effective sources of power and ways to store it could become a lifeline for high-energy-consuming industries in the UK over the next decade.

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