Phil de Villiers, Head of Offshore Wind at the Carbon
"Offshore wind is an important and abundant low carbon energy
source for the UK that also offers significant opportunity for
growth, jobs and exports. Developing it at scale is essential
to help us meet the energy security and carbon reduction challenges
facing the country over the next few decades. But we must act
quickly to ensure the technology is deployed in time and at a
reasonable cost to the consumer.
"The good news, as detailed in the Task Force Report, is that
the current cost of offshore wind can be dramatically
reduced. The role of innovation is critical and the Carbon Trust
believe that the rapid introduction of cutting edge innovation
throughout the offshore wind supply chain can cut costs from some
£140-160 per MWh to £105-110/MWh. Through the industry
adopting a combination of radical innovations in foundations,
electrical systems, turbines and the layout and access to wind
farms off our coasts we are confident that 25% reductions in the
cost of the technology can be achieved by 2020.
"However, the mass roll out of new innovative technology won't
happen on its own. This is currently being held back by
a lack of demonstration sites where radical new innovation to
reduce costs can be tested and proven over a two year period.
This issue was highlighted in the Task Force's report. A
dramatic increase in the number of demonstration sites available
for the industry to test the latest turbine and foundation designs
is urgently required. To make this happen, the industry will have
to test new technologies on commercial wind farms requiring a
faster and more flexible planning system and a mechanism to
incentivise the use of new technologies within existing projects.
"Without these sites the full range of cost reduction
opportunities for offshore wind could be lost for a large number of
Round Three projects. If this were to happen then costs out
to 2020 would remain higher than they need to which could well
compromise the amount of offshore wind power developed. This
in turn would be a missed opportunity for the UK in terms of jobs,
security of supply and emission reduction."
Offshore wind: the
cost challenge - presentation (PDF)