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Government to go full tilt for offshore wind power

Offshore wind power is expected to emerge as a major post-Brexit success for the UK economy as technology costs plummet and the weaker pound accelerates the burgeoning industry’s export potential.
Tomorrow the renewable energy technology is likely to be the major winner in the Government’s renewable support auction, which will award ?295m to low-carbon power schemes.
Mega-turbine developers including Scottish Power and Dong Energy are expected to have entered aggressively low bids amid plummeting offshore wind costs, which have fallen by half in less than five years. The record low subsidies could herald an ?11bn industrial boon for post-Brexit Britain, while lightening the load on energy consumers who support the payments via their bills.
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Experts believe contracts paying ­between ?60 to ?70 per megawatt hour of electricity are possible, which is well below the ?140/MWh contracts handed to earlier projects and significantly cheaper than nuclear power, which costs around ?90/MWh.
Richard Howard, from Aurora ­Energy Research, said the devaluation of sterling since last year’s Brexit vote will put some upward pressure on consumer costs, since more than 50pc of the amount spent on a typical wind farm is imported.
But in the longer term, the rebalancing of the currency will boost the competitiveness of UK offshore wind suppliers, he said. Richard Turner, chief executive of subsea cable developer JDR Cable, said: “For years we were often told that we were too expensive due to the strength of the pound.”
Government to go full tilt for offshore wind power

Credit:
Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
The Cambridge-based manufacturer, which supplies Dong Energy’s offshore wind farms, has come under some cost pressure because it imports component parts from Europe.
However, JDR is already developing plans to increase its use of British supply partners as economics swing to their favour, in a further boost to UK plc.
“Our strategy is not based solely on foreign exchange – there are lots of benefits from having your supply chain closer to hand,” he added. JDR was recently snapped up by ­European cabling giant TFKable for an undisclosed sum. It will continue to manufacture its cables in Hartlepool.
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