By DARA BUTTERFIELD
The Renewable UK trade association has published a new document which makes a case for Government to continue its support for offshore wind, outlining specific actions that Ministers could take to ensure expansion.
The report, “Our Offshore Energy Future – Actions for Growth”, highlights a series of key achievements and future developments. The industry has reduced costs by 11% in the last 5 years and is on target to drive costs down to £100 per megawatt hour by 2020. Offshore wind is set to be cost-competitive with new nuclear by the mid-2020s.
The industry has committed to ensuring that at least 50% of the content of offshore wind farms is made in the UK. 13,000 people depend on the sector for their livelihoods. At least 4.7 gigawatts (GW) will be added over the next 5 years, representing investment of £16-20 billion.
However, the document also warns that the UK’s offshore wind industry will be unable to reach its full potential without supportive Government policies.
Maria McCaffery, Chief Executive, Renewable UK, explained: “We’re asking the Government to put the right policies in place to safeguard growth – not just for now, but for the long term.
“If we are to deliver the forthcoming pipeline of projects, we need clear visibility on financial support – regular auctions for Contracts for Difference with the next round taking place this year, a price trajectory of CfDs post-2019 and the extension of the Levy Control Framework (the mechanism which supports low carbon generation) budget into the 2020s.
“We’re also calling for a strong Ministerial statement on the role of offshore wind in the energy mix beyond 2020. This should be underpinned by a vision of offshore wind’s contribution to the 4th and 5th Carbon Budgets which extend out to 2030. Without clarity, the industry can’t unleash new investment.
“In return, we’ll continue to create thousands of jobs and attract billions of pounds of inward investment while doubling the quantity of clean electricity we’re generating in UK waters by 2020, securing our energy supplies and relentlessly reducing costs. We’re determined to maintain Britain’s global lead as the go-to destination for investing in offshore wind”.
Meanwhile, Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Rt. Hon Amber Rudd MP recognised the scale of the opportunity in the technology.
Delivering the keynote address at Renewable UK’s Global Offshore Wind Conference, Rudd said: “Offshore wind is a 21st century industrial success story. Clean energy isn’t fluffy and indulgent, it makes cold, hard economic sense.
“We need to continue investing in less mature technologies so they can reach their potential. My Department and I are determined to back you”.