Offshore wind is cheaper than nuclear power for the first time

Lloyd Doyle
September 13, 2017

The report also noted that Hinkley Point C's strike price is rising with inflation and has been guaranteed for 35 years from when the plant enters operation.

Further, these new offshore wind strike prices are cheaper than the levelized cost of gas, according to figures from the BEIS - for gas projects meant to start generating in 2020 and 2025 (source/PDF).

The prices, down by as much as 51 percent compared to the average in the U.K.'s last subsidy round in 2015, were cheaper than the levelized cost of gas, based on figures from the U.K. Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), RenewableUK said in a statement.

"It also puts the (price) being paid for Hinkley Point into sharp perspective".

In total, they will have a generating capacity of 3.2GW, the same as Hinkley Point C, though they should be operational at least two years before the pair of new reactors. The UK needs to establish new trading opportunities as we leave the European Union, and the UK's offshore wind sector is a world leader in a global renewable energy market now worth $290 billion a year.

The Government said the new UK-wide projects - the biggest of which Dong Energy's Hornsea Project Two off the Yorkshire coast - would create thousands of jobs and provide enough power for 3.6 million homes.

Caroline Lucas, the co-leader of the Green Party, said the figures achieved should be the "nail in the coffin" for new nuclear.


The news prompted nuclear firms to rush out statements in defense of their technology, emphasizing the fact that offshore wind can not guarantee generation during low-wind periods. Already an albatross hung around the neck of the current UK Government which approved the plan, opponents of nuclear, and Hinkley Point in particular (not to mention anyone looking to score points off the current administration) are taking turns to use these latest strike prices as fodder for their arguments.

"The government's undying commitment to new nuclear risks locking us into sky-high prices for years to come", Lucas warned.

RenewableUK, the renewable energy trade association in the United Kingdom, is highlighting the dramatic fall in the cost of offshore wind, which, according to the results of the country's latest competitive auction for renewable technologies, is cheaper than the cost of nuclear.

The cost of subsidies for new offshore wind farms has fallen to record lows in the latest round of contracts being awarded for clean energy projects. "Offshore wind developers have focused relentlessly on innovation, and the sector is investing 17.5 billion British pounds into the United Kingdom over the next four years whilst saving our consumers money".

"It is further proof that innovation in the offshore wind industry will bring economic growth for the United Kingdom on an industrial scale".

The Government can help us by continuing to hold fiercely competitive auctions for future projects, as it has promised, and by putting offshore wind at the heart of its upcoming Industrial Strategy. "The UK needs to establish new trading opportunities as we leave the European Union, and the UK's offshore wind sector is a world leader in a global renewable energy market now worth $290 billion a year".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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