SSE Renewables maps out path to achieving 40GW offshore wind

SSE Renewables (SSER) has set out a nine-point action plan to put the UK on course for delivering 40GW offshore wind by 2030.

SSER warned that failure to remove barriers to offshore wind deployment now could jeopardise the 2030 target, as set out in the Conservatives’ election manifesto, and, in turn, the 2050 net zero target. Its action plan seeks to address some of the biggest obstacles for offshore wind, which include a need for removing barriers to the consenting process, addressing grid and aviation radar issues and reforming electricity market design.

On the latter, it explained that substantial offshore wind, together with other zero or low marginal cost generation, will likely see an increasing number of periods of low or even negative wholesale electricity prices. Although the evolution of wholesale energy prices is uncertain, SSER said it would be prudent for the government to undertake an in-depth assessment of whether policy and market design is fit for purpose. It suggested this work could be started through the government’s Energy White Paper and subsequently provide confidence to investors in offshore wind projects that there will be a long-term market framework fit for a net zero electricity system.

Other key actions include annual contracts for difference auction rounds, strategic investment to support development of the UK supply chain and a strategy for floating wind.

SSE Renewables urged government, regulators and statutory bodies to work collaboratively with the offshore wind industry to address and achieve these barriers to deployment, warning that the current fall in carbon dioxide emissions caused by the coronavirus outbreak will likely be short lived once the crisis is over. This means that continuing to invest in the new low carbon infrastructure the country needs is key.