Carbon Trust report says sector could help country meet most of its clean power goals.
Increased offshore wind generation could help Wales meet its renewable energy and decarbonisation targets, according to a new report by the Carbon Trust.
The report – ‘Future Potential for Offshore Wind in Wales’ – has been published for the Welsh government and also found that the sector could act as a stimulus for the local economy.
It said that 2GW of additional offshore wind power could be delivered by two or three projects in Wales, representing over two-thirds of the country’s 70% renewables goal for 2030.
The generation would also set Wales on course to achieve its carbon reduction target of at least 80% by 2050.
“Relatively shallow waters off North Wales, in particular, are expected to be attractive for near-term development, while deeper waters off Pembrokeshire hold considerable long-term potential for floating offshore wind technology,” Carbon Trust said.
It added that Wales’ rich maritime and industrial heritage could be leveraged to create opportunities for Welsh businesses, particularly in operation and maintenance.
“With sufficient market volume, Wales could also attract major overseas suppliers to establish local manufacturing facilities, as exemplified by a recent investment decision from Prysmian to supply submarine cable cores from its facility in Wrexham,” the report said.
A series of recommendations to government are also in the report aimed at improving the attractiveness of projects in Wales for inward investment.
They include actively engaging with The Crown Estate and prospective developers to help secure new leases in Welsh waters, working with developers and the local supply chain to increase the level of local content, and de-risking the development process through participation in industry-wide initiatives to address consenting barriers.
Welsh Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths said: “This report by the Carbon Trust provides us with a greater understanding of opportunities in Wales for the sustainable development of offshore wind for the future.
“We realise the potential of offshore wind to help Wales meet its decarbonisation targets and renewable energy targets. We will now consider the recommendations from the report and continue our engagement with the Crown Estate on the potential of new leasing in Wales.”
Carbon Trust manager Rhodri James said: “Having initially pioneered offshore wind development with the UK’s first commercial wind farm at North Hoyle in 2004, a limited project pipeline has constrained opportunities for Wales in recent years.
“However, upcoming site extensions and seabed leasing will create new opportunities for Wales to harness its abundant offshore wind resource to deliver clean, renewable power to consumers.
“If projects can be secured, they could play a pivotal role in meeting Wales and the UK’s renewable energy and decarbonisation goals, as well as create economic benefits for local businesses and communities.”