Larger turbines make offshore wind cheaper

Thursday, 5 March, 2015 - 12:15
Qualitative assessment of key indicator progress against targets. Green: ahead of target, Light green: on target, Yellow: behind target, Red: target missed (Source: DNV GL)
Qualitative assessment of key indicator progress against targets. Green: ahead of target, Light green: on target, Yellow: behind target, Red: target missed (Source: DNV GL)

The cost of energy from offshore wind has come down from 136 £/MWh in 2011 to 121 £/MWh for projects delivered or moving to construction between 2012 and 2014. The biggest single contribution to cost reduction has been industry’s early adoption of larger turbines.

2014 the Cost Reduction Monitoring Framework (CRMF) was commissioned by the Offshore Wind Programme Board at the request of industry leaders and government. A report was now delivered by ORE Catapult, in collaboration with The Crown Estate, providing analysis of data gathered by Deloitte and DNV GL from offshore wind farms in UK waters. The report provides analysis of how and why savings have been realised, and identifies the on-going opportunities and challenges to further cost reduction.

It shows that the cost of energy from offshore wind has come down from 136 £/MWh in 2011 to 121 £/MWh for projects delivered or moving to construction between 2012 and 2014. This is as measured across the whole life of a project, not just the 15 years covered by government strike prices. The biggest single contribution to cost reduction has been industry’s early adoption of larger turbines. 6 MW machines are now being rolled out compared to the 3 MW turbines that were standard until recently.

The report shows that continued innovation and cost reduction depend on the scale of growth planned for the sector. It states that “whilst progress has been made in the face of a reduced deployment outlook, it is not safe to assume that the supply chain will continue to invest in the required technology innovations if the size of the market is not sufficient”.

Katharina Garus

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