Energy from offshore wind in the UK will be cheaper than electricity from new nuclear power for the first time. The cost of subsidies for new offshore wind farms has halved since the last 2015 auction for clean energy projects. Two firms said they were willing to build offshore wind farms for a guaranteed price of £57.50 per megawatt hour for 2022-23. This compares with the new Hinkley Point C nuclear plant securing subsidies of £92.50 per megawatt hour. Nuclear firms said the UK still needed a mix of low-carbon energy, especially for when wind power was not available. Bigger turbines, higher voltage cables and lower cost foundations, as well as growth in the UK supply chain and the downturn in the oil and gas industry have all contributed to falling prices.
That was a quote from the BBC article at http://www.bbc.com/news/business-41220948
Of course, new nuclear power is bloody expensive at double the current wholesale cost of power, and the amount being paid to the windfarms is still a bit more than current wholesale prices, and the contracts are likely to be for a long time. It’s not really quite so astonishing when you look a bit more closely. Maybe a bit worrying that the cost to the end customer (us) will still be somewhat increased, just not as much as it might have been.
Another quote from the BBC: The newest 8 megawatt offshore turbines stand almost 200 metres high, taller than London’s Gherkin building. But Ms Pinchbeck said the turbines would double in size in the 2020s.
OK, so the turbines are getting bigger and there’s a cost-saving from that, and of course mass-production and competition will drive the costs down. We still need some pretty good storage solutions in order to keep our civilisation going 24/7 when the wind doesn’t blow or blows too strongly, and of course there are all those EVs to charge in a few years’ time.
It’s still worth reading the BBC article, though, since there’s a lot that I haven’t copy/pasted. There’s a mention of all the new jobs that will be created (though it would actually be better if fewer jobs were involved in delivering electricity). Basically, it’s somewhat good news with a kick in the tail if you see through the spin.
What might be good news is to announce a national holiday when the wind doesn’t blow, of course, in order to match the demand better to the supply. I think people would vote for that….