Offshore accounts

by agwelch

Editorial from Energy Engineering magazine responding to two industry reports on cost reduction in offshore wind.

Substation at the Sheringham Shoal offshore wind farm. Image: Alistair Welch

“The figure of £100/MWh is widely touted as the holy grail of the offshore wind industry: reach this levelised cost by 2020 and the goal of cost competitiveness beckons. But how can the sector hope to reach this point? Where can cost reduction be achieved? Who is responsible for driving it? And is such a target feasible within the timescale?

Sheringham Shoal turbines in operation. Image: Alistair Welch

Although estimates vary, the current cost of energy from offshore wind is thought to be around £150/MWh. As it stands, the UK has 1.86GW installed offshore wind capacity. However, the government wants 18GW operational by 2020. This huge increase in capacity, to be fulfilled predominantly by the large Round 3 zones currently in very early stages of development, will only be feasible if cost reduction is taken seriously across the industry.”

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Links: Offshore Wind Cost Reduction Task Force (DECC), Offshore Wind Cost Reduction Pathways Study (The Crown Estate)