Saturday, February 22, 2014

Offshore wind energy in Britain in numbers

Britain leads the way in offshore wind energy development on global scale by accounting for more than half of total global offshore wind installations, 3,689 megawatts, as compared to world's total of 6,930 megawatts.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change estimates that country will reach 10 gigawatts of offshore wind capacity by 2020.

In order to achieve this goal, offshore wind industry will have to significantly cut its costs,  and the British government has already set a goal of reducing the costs to 100 pounds ($167) a megawatt-hour by 2020, from the current 147 pounds. Taking into account current state of development and environmental issues that will ahve to be taken care off in the process, this goal looks difficult to achieve. Of course, offshore wind industry is still industry in its nascent phase so there is certainly a plenty of room for improvement.

The future costs will be difficult to decrease because new offshore wind energy projects tend to be further from shore and in deeper waters which increases construction costs. Even US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz recently said that offshore wind projects still remain too expensive.

UK's government has already set the incentives for offshore wind through 2019, with the hope to stimulate clean-energy jobs and give economy a boost.

In the last three months British utilities have canceled as much as 5,760 megawatts of planned offshore wind capacity.