China could be on the verge of catching the UK as the world's biggest offshore wind market, data from sector association RenewableUK showed Sept. 29.
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The UK has 10.4 GW of offshore wind capacity installed, and China 9.4 GW, but China's project pipeline is slightly larger than the UK's at 64.4 GW versus 63.2 GW.
New research by RenewableUK "shows that the total pipeline of offshore wind projects around the world now stands at 413 GW. The pipeline includes projects which are fully operational, under construction, consented or being planned," it said.
Just behind the UK and China is the US with a project pipeline of 40.5 GW, although the US is only just beginning to build projects.
"It's especially useful to see where opportunities are arising for offshore wind supply chain companies in the UK to export their knowledge and expertise to new markets," said RenewableUK's executive director Isabel DiVanna.
Investments totaling over GBP900 million in new factories have been made so far this year in the UK's offshore wind manufacturing sector.
On Sept. 28 JDR Cables announced plans to build a new factory in Cambois near Blyth in Northumberland as part of an investment of GBP130 million.
In March GE announced plans to convert a steelworks site on Teesside into a turbine blade factory.
In July, South Korea's SeAH Wind said it would invest GBP260 million in a monopile foundation factory at the Able Marine Energy Park on the Humber, while Smulders Projects UK said it would invest GBP70 million in manufacturing transition pieces at its site at Wallsend in Newcastle Upon Tyne.
In August Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy said it would invest GBP186 million in doubling the size of its turbine blade factory in Hull, and GRI Renewable Industries said it would invest GBP78 million in a tower factory on the Humber.
Supply chain investment is primarily focused on the home market ahead of the next round of project auctions in English, Welsh and Scottish waters.
On Sept. 13 the UK government announced a GBP265 million/year ($366 million/year) budget for its fourth contract for differences allocation round due later this year.
Most of this (GBP200 million/year) has been assigned to Pot Three technologies, notably offshore wind. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy expects this to bring forward up to 12 GW of offshore wind development.
Meanwhile Crown Estate Scotland expects to announce initial ScotWind offers in January 2022. It is seeking to award leases for up to 10 GW of offshore wind capacity, including floating wind, to be built over the next decade.