The evolution of offshore wind power in the United Kingdom

Paraic Higgins, Aoife Foley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Citations (Scopus)


In the United Kingdom wind power is recognised as the main source of renewable energy to achieve the European Union 2020 renewable energy targets. Currently over 50% of renewable power is generated from onshore wind with a large number of offshore wind projects in development. Recently the government has re-iterated its commitment to offshore wind power and has announced that offshore wind subsidies are to increase from £135/MWh to £140/MWh until 2019. This paper provides a detailed overview of the offshore wind power industry in the United Kingdom in terms of market growth, policy development and offshore wind farm costs. The paper clearly shows that the United Kingdom is the world leader for installed offshore wind power capacity as pro-active policies and procedures have made it the most attractive location to develop offshore wind farm arrays. The key finding is that the United Kingdom has the potential to continue to lead the world in offshore wind power as it has over 48 GW of offshore wind power projects at different stages of operation and development. The growth of offshore wind power in the United Kingdom has seen offshore wind farm costs rise and level off at approximately £3 million/MW, which are higher than onshore wind costs at £1.5–2 million/MW. Considering the recent increase in offshore wind power subsidies and plans for 48 GW of offshore wind power could see more offshore wind power becoming increasingly financially competitive with onshore wind power. Therefore offshore wind power is likely to become a significant source of electricity in the United Kingdom beyond 2020.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)599-612
Number of pages14
JournalRenewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2014


  • Offshore wind;
  • Policy development;
  • Electricity market;
  • Offshore wind farm costs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Energy(all)
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment

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