Green Right Now Reports

The leading renewable energy trade association in the United Kingdom, Renewable UK, is celebrating a report released today that shows that offshore wind power generation in the North Sea could eclipse the power generated by oil and gas production in the same region.

Offshore wind in the UK could supercede oil and gas production in the North Sea

Offshore wind in the UK could supercede oil and gas production in the North Sea

“This is a hugely exciting piece of research which sets out compelling factual evidence of the huge potential of the UK’s offshore renewable energy resource,” said Peter Madigan, head of Offshore Renewables at RenewableUK.

“As an association we have long been saying that the North Sea will become the Saudi Arabia of wind energy, and today’s tonne of oil and employment comparisons amply bear this out. Just as 30 years  ago, the North Sea could be our ticket for economic growth. We are looking forward to the new Government putting in place the policy framework to make this happen”

The report, published by The Offshore Valuation Group, a coalition of government and industry organizations, concluded that using less than one third of the “available offshore wind” could generate electricity equivalent to that of 1 billion barrels of oil — the amount produced annually by North Sea oil and gas production. It defined the wind available as that which could be practically developed using known technologies.

Job growth also would soar with the robust development of offshore wind, the report found. Using one-third of the wind capability of the North Sea would produce an estimated 145,000 new jobs in the UK.

Developing about one-third of the amount of “practical” wind power also would enable Britain to export wind by 2050. This would be possible if the EU developed an interconnected super grid and Britain pursued wind aggressively until it had an installed capacity of 169 GigaWatts of wind power.

“The infrastructure deployment required is similar in scale to that of oil and gas in recent decades. The major expansion of the supply chain this needs will not happen on its own, however, but will take strong and continuing support from government and industry in the coming years,” according to the report, developed by the Boston Consulting Group.

This degree of wind development also would save 1.1 billion tons of carbon emissions, reducing emissions by 30 percent relative to 1990 levels.

The Boston Consulting Group developed the analysis in collaboration with the Public Interest Research Centre.