UK renewable energy capacity to double by 2026: Rystad report

The UK will double its current renewable energy capacity by 2026 – four years earlier than its 2030 target – according to new analysis by consultancy Rystad Energy.

Total installed capacity of solar and wind power plants will grow from just under 33GW today to 64GW in 2026, largely driven by a wave of offshore wind installations.

Offshore wind capacity is set to rise from 10.5GW this year to 27.5GW in 2026, overtaking onshore wind as the UK’s largest single source of renewable energy in the process.

Solar capacity will grow at a slower pace, reaching 12.3GW in 2021 from 8.9 GW today, while onshore wind will remain in second place with 24.3GW of capacity in six years, up from 13.5GW today.

While offshore wind capacity will continue to rise after 2026 and reach nearly 40GW by the end of the 2020s, onshore wind’s growth is projected to stall in the second half of the decade.

“The expected rapid deployment of offshore wind will require a substantial increase in the size of turbines, which implies a need for major expansion of UK manufacturing capacity,” said Gero Farruggio, head of renewables at Rystad Energy.

“The government’s recent launch of a new scheme to bolster large-scale portside manufacturing hubs, involving financial support to also strengthen offshore wind manufacturing capability, will assist this transition.”