The myth of ‘expensive’ offshore wind is being debunked. Despite the public perception of offshore wind energy being highly expensive, electricity generated via this technology has now plummeted in cost to be cheaper than gas-fired and nuclear powers. Offshore wind energy is now cheaper than that generated by gas-fired power plants, or even at proposed nuclear projects such as the Hinkley Point C mega project.
This financial assessment extolling offshore wind’s price benefits was conducted by Danish energy consultant, Mike Parr. The Danes are often deemed world leaders in wind energy, both offshore and onshore. And anyone who has flown into Copenhagen airport, or has looked out on the Øresund-Öresund Bay between Copenhagen and Malmö, will have seen the 20 wind turbines of the Middelgrunden offshore wind farm.
Denmark publishes data on the monthly output of every single Danish wind turbine, both onshore and offshore. Hourly data on the aggregate output of the offshore farms is also provided. Such data facilitates financial analyses of existing and future wind farms for Denmark. So in some aspects of the wind energy game the Danes are ahead, but it is actually the UK, which has the largest fleet of offshore wind turbines!
The UK has been the world leader in offshore wind since 2008, with as much capacity already installed as the rest of the world combined! Now with the cost of this technology decreasing, the UK’s windy shores in the North Sea, English Channel, Irish Sea and Atlantic harbour even more cheap, clean-energy potential.
The lowering cost of offshore wind means that the current large subsidies for offshore wind energy in the UK can viably be rapidly reduced.
The subsidies could be rolled back now, though, which would probably go some ways towards reducing public backlash against the technology in some regions. Concerning the proposed nuclear project at Hinkley — the Anholt wind project delivers electricity that is about 40% cheaper than the nuclear project (which will be given £92.50 per MWh for 35 years).