The Future Of UK Offshore Wind Power

2022 – 2023 PI Hannah Bloomfield, Co-I Rachel James, funded by Cabot Institute of the Environment.

How do we optimise future investment decisions for offshore wind under climate change?

The challenge

To meet carbon mitigation targets energy systems rapidly decarbonising. Wind power is key to meeting these targets. The UK is a world-leader in offshore wind power, with plans to invest significantly over the coming decades. However, increasing the amount of renewable generation results in an increasing amount of power system variability. This is a challenge for keeping the lights on, as large fluctuations in wind power generation may not coincide with energy demand.

What we’re doing

We will use new meteorological datasets to understand how planned offshore wind farms and climate change may impact UK-total wind power generation by addressing three key questions:

Which wind farms contribute to the largest variability in current offshore wind generation?
What impacts may climate change have on future wind power generation?
What weather conditions are present at the times of extreme wind power generation?

How it helps

This demonstrator project will provide initial evidence to inform key decision making about where is the best place to install future wind farms.

It will also develop collaborations and networks for further industry partnerships, which are fundamental for evidence-driven net zero planning.

To date, planning to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adaptation to future climate change have sometimes been disconnected. It is vitally important that renewable energy projects are robust to climate change, so connecting climate science with the energy sector is urgent. This project will establish those connections around wind power, and catalyse a hub of activity in this area at University of Bristol.