The net value of Scotland's 68GW of offshore resource in terms of electricity sales is estimated at GBP14bn by 2050, according to the Offshore Valuation Study, a UK led report launched at All Energy in Aberdeen.
The Offshore Valuation Study explores scenarios to develop the UK’s offshore resources (wind, wave and tidal) to maturity in order to assess the long-term value from electricity exports, technology exports, jobs, returns to UK investors, and avoided imports. The Scottish government has supported the study.
According to the report, Scotland’s total practical offshore resource is estimated at 206GW. By harnessing around a third of that resource, installed offshore renewables capacity could reach 68GW in Scotland by 2050. This compares to Scotland’s current installed renewable capacity of 3.7GW and could generate many times annual domestic demand, the study said.
Of the 68GW capacity by 2050, 46GW could come from fixed wind, 11GW from floating wind, 4GW from wave energy, 5GW from tidal stream and 2GW from tidal range.
The report finds that offshore wind, wave and tidal energy have the potential to meet the nation’s electricity needs seven times over, creating a vast export surplus while making a significant contribution to meeting domestic and European renewable energy targets.
In addition, the report finds up to 145,000 jobs could be created, UK wide, in installation, operation and maintenance.
Jim Mather, energy minister of Scotland, said: ”We have long known the huge scale of the low carbon opportunities in our seas. This independently produced report now validates our energy policy that favors our comparative advantage and further strengthens our view that Scotland should have better grid connections to continental Europe.
“These findings strengthen our arguments for developing our offshore renewable potential, for greater interconnection to the rest of the UK and Europe and for the development of offshore grids to connect and export offshore renewable energy from Scotland direct to continental Europe. We must seize these opportunities and will continue to work to make the transition to a low carbon economy a reality.”
The study was led by the Offshore Valuation Group, a group drawn from across industry and government and chaired by the Public Interest Research Centre (PIRC), a not-for-profit charity. The group includes the UK, Scottish and Welsh governments, the Crown Estate and eight companies across the energy sector.