The UK is home to the largest operating offshore wind capacity in the world and is ever expanding, building towards the UK target of ‘net-zero’ greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 – a transition in which offshore wind will continue to have a crucial role to play. Round 4 of offshore wind farm development will take the sector another step forward with between 7GW and 8.5GW of offshore wind power due for development, supporting the continued growth of the UK offshore wind pipeline and with it, the UK’s ambitious decarbonisation agenda.
However, well before any significant site-specific information is available, the developers of these wind energy schemes face questions in preparation of their bids for the lease areas available, such as, “Is it technically feasible?” and “Is it commercially viable?”.
Luckily, there is high level information available pertinent to the first stages of answering these key questions and it comes in the form of open source data. In the UK, where offshore industries such as oil and gas and, more recently, renewable energy have been prevalent for many years, we are fortunate to have good coverage of data required to understand where wind speeds may be sufficient; and where suitable soil types exist for the safe and costly erection of offshore wind farms, before any site-specific surveys are completed.