A new report published this week has shown that offshore wind costs continued to fall through 2015, and are on track to reach £100/MWh by 2020.
The report was delivered by the UK’s Offshore Wind Programme Board, which exists to drive offshore wind cost reduction, and assess risks and barriers to the industry. The second annual Cost Reduction Monitoring Framework (CRMF) report, published Monday by the country’s Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult on behalf of the Board, outlined how investment in turbine technology has delivered significant cost benefits to the offshore wind industry, with costs continuing to fall through 2015 with 12 of 13 cost indicators on or ahead of target, and remains on track to fall to its target of £100/MWh by 2020.
“Offshore wind is delivering jobs and economic benefit to the UK right now,” said Jonathan Cole, Chair of the Offshore Wind Programme Board. “This report shows that consumers and Government can be confident that the cost of offshore wind will continue to reduce and that offshore wind is the ideal way to produce the large quantities of clean, reliable energy that the UK needs.”
However, the report also concluded that further reduction will need to come from innovations in the “balance of plant” sector, such as foundations, cables, and offshore wind substations.
The report’s authors further noted that the only way to acquire the investment necessary for research and development & manufacturing industrialization to deliver the necessary improvements is to increase the visibility of future rates of deployment and market size.
The good news, however, is that the industry has already adopted innovations that had not been expected to be implemented until 2017, particularly in the areas of turbine design and project maintenance. The only scale by which the offshore wind industry is not ahead of the game is in growth & scale.
“We have continued to see excellent progress in reducing the cost of clean energy from offshore wind,” said Benj Sykes, industry co-chair of the Offshore Wind Industry Council, who was quoted by RenewableUK, which published news of the report this week. “The industry is fast-tracking adoption of new innovation in turbine design and in project operations, putting us ahead of the curve in efforts to bring down the cost of offshore wind. We are very confident that we can not only reach our £100/MWh milestone, but go beyond this to become fully cost competitive with other generation technologies.
“We welcome the UK Government’s continued strong support for the offshore wind sector, recognising it as a major contributor to the nation’s future energy mix. The report shows that further clarity on the timing and volume of future Contract for Difference auctions, and the longer term capacity requirements out to 2030 and beyond, is essential for the industry to galvanise the activity that will deliver further innovation and cost reductions.”
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