UK joins new global alliance at COP27 to boost offshore wind production

The UK has pledged to boost offshore wind production after joining the Global Offshore Wind Alliance (GOWA) at COP27 alongside nine other countries.

The alliance was set up by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), Denmark, and the Global Wind Energy Council. The aim is for governments to work together with the private sector and international organisations to remove the barriers in  offshore wind development and accelerate its deployment.

Ireland, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Japan, Colombia, and the US have also joined GOWA.

IRENA said that offshore wind capacity will need to exceed 2,000 gigawatts (GW) globally in 2050 to limit the rise of global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius, as per the Paris Agreement. The current capacity is just over 60GW, according to the group.

GOWA aims to achieve at least 380GW installed capacity by the end of 2030.

The UK is home to the world’s largest installed offshore wind farm, Hornsea 2, off the coast of Yorkshire. It currently has more than 10GW of cumulative installed capacity across 38 sites, according to the government. There is a further 5GW in pre-construction, and there are plans for a further 11GW.

Helena Bennett, head of climate policy at Green Alliance, welcomed the government’s decision and told ENDS: “Ramping up offshore wind is crucial to cutting UK dependence on imported gas, lowering people’s energy bills and supporting energy security.

“The government must also drive down demand for gas by unleashing onshore wind and funding a nationwide programme to insulate buildings.”

Friends of the Earth’s head of policy Mike Childs, said: “The UK government’s pledge to increase offshore wind is certainly a welcome development.But ministers must do more to increase onshore wind energy too by removing the planning barriers that restrict its development.

"Onshore wind produces cheap electricity, is quicker to build and popular with the public – and in the midst of a climate and cost of living crises we need far more of it.”

IRENA director general Francesco la Camera said: “Offshore wind represents a unique opportunity for countries to add huge volumes of new zero-carbon power generation, increase their climate ambition and ratchet up their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

“Offshore wind is more than competitive with fossil fuel generation, and can also provide a massive boost to investment and job creation.”