Arup evaluates future UK offshore wind scenarios

24 February 2021 2 min. read
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Engineering consultancy Arup has been appointed to a new project using data to visualise costs and spatial constraints of offshore windfarms. The news comes as the UK Government looks to increase the level of green energy produced in Britain by 2030.

As the world looks to dramatically reduce its carbon emissions in the coming years, renewable energy is seen as an essential road to preventing the worst effects of global warming. According to one recent report, by 2050, onshore and offshore wind, and hydroelectricity will produce more energy than coal, gas, oil and nuclear combined.

As the UK Government plans to upgrade its offshore wind production over the present decade, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), Crown Estate and Crown Estate Scotland have appointed Arup to research a range of scenarios for future offshore wind development. The news follows the recent launch of the UK Government’s Energy White Paper which outlines the ambition to deploy 40GW of offshore wind by 2030.

Arup evaluates future UK offshore wind scenarios

According to a release from Arup, the Future Offshore Wind Scenarios (FOWS) project will provide a greater understanding of the balance between technical, economic, environmental and system constraints, and their interactions with the costs to deliver the UK’s net-zero ambition.

The work will see Arup team up with the UK technology innovation and research centre, the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, and marine consultancy, ABPmer, to develop these scenarios and build a digital and data mapping solution, helping visualise costs and spatial constraints in an interactive and geospatial format.

Arup Scotland Energy Leader Clare Lavelle commented, "This is a pivotal time for the energy industry, with offshore wind identified as the backbone to the UK’s plan to produce renewable energy at scale. This research is a vital step towards mapping out the future of offshore wind in the UK and its role in helping the country towards its 2050 net zero commitment. We will draw on our team’s industry-leading expertise to provide a digital-first approach to assessing deployment limitations, cost and how best to engage with industry and regulators to aid future decision-making."

The research will also build upon existing spatial analysis conducted by the Crown Estate and the Scottish Government's Sectoral Marine Plan, aiming at finding the most sustainable options for the future development of commercial-scale offshore wind energy. To that end, FOWS will be part of the Offshore Wind Evidence and Change Programme led by the Crown Estate, together with its programme partners, BEIS and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Consultants from Arup have been at the forefront of research into sustainable energy across the UK in recent years. Previously this saw the firm work to research the power of electricity generated by tidal waves in Scotland, and a sea turbine experiment in Wales, among other projects.