“Catch 22” warning for affordable offshore wind in UK

The chance to develop cheap offshore wind power in Britain is being squandered because there no suitable offshore demonstration sites are ready to use in the UK. That was the […]

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By Vicky Ellis

The chance to develop cheap offshore wind power in Britain is being squandered because there no suitable offshore demonstration sites are ready to use in the UK.

That was the claim of independent firm Carbon Trust which warns the technology being developed may not be ready in time for the major rollout of Round 3 projects.

Round 3 projects are expected to shoulder as much as 18GW worth of the UK’s electricity demand by 2020.

Offshore wind is often criticised for being very expensive and at the moment it is costs around £140 to £150/MWh. Research the Carbon Trust has suggested this can be knocked down by a third to around £100/MWh.

Speaking at the Offshore Wind 2013 conference in Manchester yesterday, Phil de Villiers, the Head of Offshore Wind at the Carbon Trust warned it was a “Catch 22” situation.

He said: “We have the technology but we have no way of proving that it can work at scale because we currently have no suitable offshore demonstration sites in the UK ready to use.

“The bottom line is that unless we sort this issue out in the next few months we could be putting at risk the mass rollout of major new cost saving technologies which, in turn, can help reduce the overall offshore wind build bill by billions of pounds.”