The Future of the North Sea

Nov 3, 2020

Maximising the contribution of the North Sea to Net Zero and Levelling Up 

The North Sea is strategically central to meeting the UK’s target of Net Zero emissions by 2050. By fully developing offshore wind, the North Sea could provide one-third of the UK’s energy needs, and this proportion will grow if low-carbon hydrogen and carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) are also fully developed.

This transition could generate £20bn per year of investment in coastal regions and could lead to a net increase of 40,000 direct jobs connected to the North Sea energy industry, even after long-term decline in the North Sea oil and gas industry is included. This links two of the Government’s flagship policies of ‘Net Zero by 2050’ and ‘Levelling Up’. However, realising these benefits can only be achieved if the Government overcomes a number of barriers, including resolving spatial conflicts in the UK’s increasingly congested seas.

Economic map of the North Sea in 2020 

This is a digital version of the map included on page 24 of our report, The Future of the North Sea. It includes additional layers to the static version included in the report, such as the most promising potential aquifers for carbon, capture and storage (CCS) and oil and gas installations. You can turn on or off different ‘layers’, as well as interact already active layers to display information about them.

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