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More offshore wind will be needed to hit net zero than previously thought, says BEIS

The Offshore Wind Sector Deal was launched in March 2019 to help grow the sector.

The Offshore Wind Sector Deal was launched in March 2019 to help grow the sector.

Hitting net zero by 2050 will require more offshore wind power than was originally envisioned by the government, according to the Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

The department has released an update for its Offshore Wind Sector Deal, launched a year ago, and designed to aid the growth of the sector.

Whilst broadly a positive update, the report warns that: “Meeting net zero is likely to require higher volumes of offshore wind deployment than previously envisaged, to meet greater levels of electrification across the economy.”

BEIS will work closely with the sector in order to further accelerate sustainable development, including enabling new innovations such as floating offshore wind and hybrid projects.

When initially announced, the UK was aiming for offshore wind to provide more than 30% of Britain’s electricity by 2030. Following last year’s general election however, the government announced plans to reach 40GW of offshore wind by 2030 in an effort to put the UK on the right track to meet its legally binding net zero carbon by 2050 target.

A year in and the deal has allowed the development and establishment of the Offshore Wind Growth Partnership, Regional Clusters and the appointment of a Diversity Champion, according to BEIS.

Additionally, it has made progress with innovation in the sector thanks to the establishment of the Offshore Wind Innovation Group together with industry, academic and public sector representatives. Similarly, the introduction of a workforce and skills model to track and report on data is helping with skills development and diversity in the offshore wind sector.

BEIS highlights the strength of the offshore wind pipeline, as well as the dramatic reduction in the cost of offshore wind power, following the record low prices of £39.65/megawatt hour in last year's Contracts for Difference auction.

The report highlights the group's goals for the coming year, including the Launch of Industry Innovation Programme in June, the release of the Solving the Integration Challenge report in September and a number of other milestones.

The update on the Offshore Wind Sector Deal follows research by Aurora Energy, which stated that in order to meet the government's 40GW by 2030 offshore wind goal, almost £50 billion worth of investment will be needed.

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