Onshore Wind Energy

Wind turbines harness the energy of moving air to rotate the blades and generate electricity. Onshore wind refers to the turbines found on land, while offshore turbines tend to be located far out at sea, such as the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC).

Onshore wind plays an important part in the generation of clean, renewable energy in the UK, with 34,688 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of electricity generated in 2020. This was an increase of 51% over the previous 5 years.

Interesting Facts

  • The UK currently has 1,500 operational onshore wind farms
  • Windmills have been in use since 2000 B.C. and were first developed in Persia and China
  • The UK has installed over 13 gigawatts of onshore wind capacity
  • China has the world’s largest onshore wind farm with a capacity of 7,965 megawatt (MW), which is five times larger than its nearest rival
  • In 2020, the UK generated 75,610 gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity from both offshore and onshore wind. This would be enough to power 8.4 trillion LED light bulbs
  • The global capacity from onshore wind energy applications is projected to reach nearly 750 GW by 2022
Opportunities

Opportunities

  • Onshore wind is currently the cheapest form of renewable energy available in the UK at around 8p / kWh
  • Onshore turbines can be built very quickly, going from the installation phase to producing electricity to the grid in a matter of months
  • There are over 7,000 onshore wind turbines installed in the UK, with this number set to rise
  • If current growth momentum is sustained, wind power will produce enough electricity to meet one-third of global energy demands by 2050
  • Wind energy accounts for over 40% of new capacity in the US, representing an annual investment of $13billion
  • As the technology is improved turbines will become far more efficient, meaning the cost to produce the electricity will continue to fall
Challenges

Challenges

  • Wind turbines are not completely green as some emissions are produced in their manufacture and installation
  • People who live in close proximity to wind turbines regularly complain about the associated noise. The turbines can produce around 105 dB(A) at their base – about as loud as a garden lawnmower
  • Additionally, they are regularly criticised for being unsightly and ruining places of natural beauty. This can be amplified by the fact that they are often spread over larger areas
  • Wind turbines produce electricity intermittently, meaning they are not always producing power. However, as energy storage technology is improved, excess electricity can be stored during periods of low demand for later use

Offshore Wind Energy

The cost of new offshore wind has fallen dramatically over the last few years. It is now one of the lowest cost options for new power in the UK and is now cheaper than new gas and nuclear power.

Interesting Facts

  • The UK has the largest offshore wind farm in the world, which is located off the coast of Yorkshire
  • Having decreased in price in recent years, offshore wind is on course to be the cheapest source of large scale, low carbon energy generation
  • Wind energy generation accounted for 24% of total electricity generation in 2020; with offshore wind accounting for 13%
  • The UK has installed more offshore wind capacity than any other country, enough to power the equivalent of more than 18 million homes
  • Over 600 companies employing 11,000 people are active in the sector
  • Investment in new UK offshore wind capacity from now until 2021 set to total £18bn
  • Employment in offshore wind in the UK has increased significantly since 2015, with 7,200 full-time equivalent employees in 2019
Opportunities

Opportunities

  • Offshore wind is seen as critical to delivering the UK’s future low carbon economy and meeting climate change obligations.
  • The industry has published a vision of delivering 30GW – approximately four times what we have today and approximately 30% of the UK’s total energy requirements, by 2030.
  • The target is for the industry to employ 27,000 people and increase exports fivefold to £2.5bn per annum by 2030.
  • Huge opportunity for UK supply chain companies to bring innovative products and services to market to meet the growing demand, both in the UK and internationally.
Challenges

Challenges

  • Complex design process.
  • Need for increased standardization across the industry.
  • To help improve installation, operations, and ongoing maintenance, offshore wind farms still need to become less sensitive to weather fluctuations.

Get in touch

AREG is the original energy transition organisation, working on behalf of members to empower the energy supply chain and champion its expertise. Please get in touch if you have any questions or would like to find out more about membership.

AREG has played an important role in the growth of Scotland’s renewable energy sector, engaging the supply chain and developing the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre. However, we are only at the very beginning of the transition that AREG was established to both lead and support so there are still opportunities for companies to get into the constantly evolving renewables supply chain. We look forward to continuing our work together as renewables builds on its place as Scotland’s main source of power, and as we seek to deliver real change in the crucial areas of heat and transport.

Scottish Renewables

Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce has worked closely with AREG since its formation. The recent progress in the developments of offshore wind projects by Equinor and Vattenfall are as a result of the work of the group over many years. The north-east is known as the oil and gas capital of Europe. At the Chamber, we believe the region must evolve its position to being recognised as the energy capital. Whilst hydrocarbons will continue to be essential in driving our economy for years to come, the generation of renewable resources will play an increasingly important role in providing cost-effective power, innovative development and economic growth.

Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce

The enthusiasm and dedication of the early group that would become AREG was fundamental in us choosing to launch All-Energy in Aberdeen. The first tiny show was held in 2001, and AREG’s Chairman at the time, Jeremy Cresswell, played such an active role that I often describe him in terms such as All-Energy’s ‘midwife’. All-Energy is now the UK’s largest renewable and low carbon energy exhibition and conference in terms of number of attendees, space booked, and number of exhibiting companies. As AREG became firmly established, their presence and support for the event grew spectacularly over the years. We thank them most sincerely for their invaluable input.

All-Energy

Vattenfall has forged a strong working relationship with AREG through the development of the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre. AREG has worked tirelessly on behalf of the North East and it can take enormous credit for the growth of sustainable energy in the region and the path it has cleared for the region to capture further investment.

Vattenfall

Aberdeen City and Shire is emerging as a key location for renewables by successfully transferring its world-class oil and gas expertise into the sector and AREG has done much to advance this through a broad range of initiatives. It has acted as a catalyst in driving further investment in the local economy by engaging with companies, Government, public bodies and existing projects and we have been pleased to support their efforts. Scottish Enterprise will continue to engage with AREG as we increase Scotland’s use of renewable energy.

Scottish Enterprise