Study reveals potential of offshore energy in south west

Offshore renewable energy projects around the south-west coast of England could generate 9.2GW of electricity, more than double the domestic needs of the whole of the south west.

That’s among the conclusions from a study commissioned by the South West RDA (Regional Development Agency) that examined the potential contribution that wave, tidal and offshore wind could make to electricity generation over the next two decades.

The report, from renewable energy consultancy PMSS, says that of the 9.2GW, 1.2GW could come from wave energy, 1.1GW from tidal stream and 4.4GW from offshore wind, much of it from two existing offshore wind farms planned in the Bristol Channel and off the Dorset coast. A further 2.5GW could come from deep-water floating wind farms.

The report says there is even greater potential beyond 50km offshore, but tapping these resources will depend on significant increases in grid capacity and resolving a number of technical challenges.

It adds that the RDA’s flagship Wave Hub marine energy infrastructure project that was installed this summer, together with research work being undertaken by the Peninsula Research Institute for marine Renewable Energy (PRIMaRE) in the south west, will greatly assist in tackling some of these challenges.

The full Offshore Renewables Resource Assessment and Development (ORRAD) technical report can be downloaded here.