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A huge expansion of offshore wind is coming – the UK is aiming to deliver 50 GW of offshore wind by 2030. To date, almost three-quarters of the UK’s 13 GW offshore wind capacity has been installed along the east coast of Great Britain. However, recent innovations in floating offshore wind have enabled the development of projects in deeper water off the west coast. This presents an opportunity for west coast offshore wind projects to address the lack of geographical diversity of the UK’s offshore wind fleet and to play a vital role in energy system balancing, energy security and price stability.

The Go West! study explores and identifies the benefits that pursuing a more geographically diverse offshore wind fleet could bring to both the UK energy system and energy consumers, and recommends the policy innovations required to deliver such a balanced fleet.

About the project

Project title: ‘Go West – An analysis of the energy system benefits and policy implications of a more geographically diverse offshore wind portfolio’

Project lead: Jack Adkins, Senior Analyst    Project duration: May – October 2022

The paper was jointly sponsored by Simply Blue Group, Magnora Offshore Wind, Morwind and Northland Power (with Regen retaining editorial independence over recommendations and conclusions) and has been informed by engagement with key energy sector stakeholders, including National Grid ESO, BEIS, Ofgem, Welsh Government, The Crown Estate, rUK and the CCC.

This paper was born of an early analysis by Regen director Johnny Gowdy of a particularly interesting weather weekend in December 2021, where low wind across the East coast resulted in several days of very low wind generation, whilst high wind resource across the West coast remained untapped that could have mitigated high wholesale price volatility and system balancing costs.

For the Go West study, Regen has modelled several possible future 70 GW offshore wind fleets with varying capacity on the west coast of Great Britain – from the ‘Stay East’ scenario with just 3GW on the west coast, to the ‘Go West!’ scenario with 35GW on the west coast to complement east coast generation.

Using 20 years of wind resource data, the report assesses potential system benefits such as reduced occurrence and duration of low offshore wind power, reduced power generation volatility, and associated potential reductions in energy system costs and carbon emissions.

For more information, please contact Jack Adkins, Senior Analyst at Regen.

People on this project

Becky Fowell
Energy Market Analyst
As an energy market analyst, Becky works with data, visualisation tools and continuous stakeholder…
Simon Gill
Simon is a Regen associate, providing a wealth of experience to support our analytical…
Johnny Gowdy
Johnny is a director of Regen and leads the development of our advisory projects,…

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