Floating offshore wind could deliver cost effective, secure, and safe renewable energy for the UK from the mid 2020s according to new research.
A new report published by the UK’s Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) has concluded that floating offshore wind could deliver a levelized cost of energy (LCOE) of less than £85/MWh from the mid-2020s onward, making it cost-competitive with some of the lowest-cost forms of energy generation currently available.
Furthermore, according to analysis carried out by researchers at ETI, floating offshore wind could deliver these benefits without the need for subsidy, as long as technology and supply chain development is firm. Additionally, development of floating offshore wind technology will need to make use of the ample close-shore locations and proximity to power users in an effort to cut down on operations and maintenance costs.
“UK wind resources are abundant and are already being exploited, with the country having the world’s highest offshore wind capacity,” explained Stuart Bradley, Strategy Manager, Offshore Renewables at the ETI and the report’s author. “Developing floating technology can provide access to additional high quality wind resources in deeper waters, relatively close to the UK shoreline and near centres of population which will help bring costs down further.”
Given the variety of offshore depths surrounding the UK, floating offshore wind turbines could be a real boost to an already flourishing industry. However, as the report points out, there is currently “insufficient revenue from power generation alone to encourage new step-out offshore technologies to be demonstrated at full scale,” resulting in a need for further investment to spur innovation. Such investment will need to happen soon, as well, if deployment at scale is to become a a possibility.
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