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Offshore boom time

UK generation of offshore wind power is expected to more than triple in the next six years, according to figures due to be unveiled at a conference in Glasgow this week.

The projections are based on a report by RenewableUK - the trade and professional body for the UK wind, wave and tidal energy industries - which details the expected delivery date for every offshore wind project in UK waters until 2027.

The full report, whose publication will coincide with the opening of the Global Offshore Wind 2014 on Wednesday, predicts that between now and 2020, offshore wind generation capacity will increase from around 4% of the UK's total electricity generation to 13%. As a result of several massive offshore wind farms coming onstream in the next few years, the UK's production of offshore wind power will, for first time, match and may even overtake the proportion of electricity from onshore wind farms.

The Offshore Wind Project Timelines report projects that installed capacity for offshore wind generation will increase from 3.65 giga-watts to between 13GW and 14GW by the end of the decade. Over the same timescale, the amount of power from onshore wind is expected to rise from 7.26GW to 13GW.

Next week's conference is expected to feature an announcement from UK Energy Minister Michael Fallon on reducing the costs of offshore wind and the supply chain.

The UK generated 15% of its electricity from renewable sources in 2013, but this must rise to 30% by the end of decade to meet targets.

Scotland produces far more electricity from onshore wind turbines than offshore, with installed capacity of 2352 megawatts and 190MW respectively. But the proportion could change when approved offshore farms off the coast of Caithness, the Moray Firth, Aberdeenshire and Fife come on stream.

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