The British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) is launching two key reports today: “UK Offshore WInd: Staying on Track” and “Offshore Wind: Charting the Right Course.”
Both reports were released at the Offshore ’09 Conference, the UK’s largest dedicated offshore wind energy event, which is taking place at the QE2 Centre in Westminster.
The reports set out the timetable and potential costs for a massive expansion of the UK’s offshore wind capacity. The offshore energy revolution that saw Britain become the world leader in 2008 in terms of installed capacity could eventually see every home in the UK powered by electricity from offshore wind by 2020.
“The report on offshore build-out predicts that we will have a cumulative installed capacity of up to 9 gigawatts by 2015,” said Maria McCaffery, the BWEA’s chief executive. “That these projections are credible is shown by our report from 2007 which accurately predicted the point at which we are today. Wind will overtake nuclear in terms of installed capacity within the next four to five years, as an important milestone in reaching 2020.”
The industry has grown through a series of development Rounds managed by the Crown Estate on behalf of the UK Government. However, the industry is still looking to the Government to create a policy framework, facilitate grid connections and ease supply chain pressures. While the measures introduced in the 2009 Budget have been praised by industry, wind-energy companies still expect leadership on creating the right “investment environment.”
“Our report on costs predicts that offshore prices over the next five years will depend on investor confidence,” said McCaffery. “It will take three to four manufacturers in the market to boost competition enough to start pushing down prices. If we achieve an annual deployment of around 4 to 5 gigawatts Europe-wide, then we could see prices fall by as much as 20 per cent from today’s £3.1 million per megawatt.”