BWEA, the UKs leading renewable energy trade association, is today launching two key reports, UK Offshore Wind: Staying on Track and Offshore Wind: Charting the Right Course, at the Offshore 09 Conference, the UKs largest dedicated offshore wind energy event, taking place at the QE2 Centre in Westminster.
The reports set out the timetable and potential costs for a massive expansion of the UKs offshore wind capacity. The offshore energy revolution which saw the country become world leader in 2008 in terms of installed capacity, could eventually see every home in the UK powered by electricity from offshore wind by 2020.
Maria McCaffery, BWEA Chief Executive, said: "The report on offshore build-out predicts that we will have a cumulative installed capacity of up to 9 gigawatts (GW) by 2015. That these projections are credible is shown by our report from 2007 which accurately predicted the point at which we are today. Wind will overtake nuclear in terms of installed capacity within the next 4 to 5 years, as an important milestone in reaching 2020.
The industry has grown through a series of development Rounds managed by the Crown Estate on behalf of the UK Government. However, the industry is still looking to the Government to create a policy framework, facilitate grid connections and ease supply chain pressures. The measures introduced in the 2009 Budget have been praised by industry as successful, according to the report on the costs of deployment, but companies expect leadership on creating the right investment environment".
Our report on costs predicts that offshore prices over the next 5 years will depend on investor confidence. It will take 3 to 4 manufacturers in the market to boost competition enough to start pushing down prices. If we achieve an annual deployment of around 4 to 5GW Europe-wide, then we could see prices fall by as much as 20% from todays £3.1 million per MW. Round 3 is set to deliver the UK portion of this capacity and the Government must pull out all the stops to accommodate this programme, concluded McCaffery.