Offshore wind energy to become cheaper than nuclear power for the first time in UK
11 September 2017
Offshore wind energy is set to become cheaper in the UK than that generated by new nuclear power for the first time.
The development, which is evident from the figures from the government, is said to mark a milestone in the advance of renewable energy.
The falling cost of offshore wind energy has surprised its most optimistic supporters.
However, the UK still needs nuclear power especially for when wind power was not possible.
The figures, from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, for offshore wind were revealed in process of an auction for subsidies, in which the lowest bidder wins.
According to two firms, they were willing to build offshore wind farms for a subsidy of £57.50 per megawatt hour, BBC reported, which compared with new nuclear plants at a subsidy of £92.50 per megawatt hour for 2022-23.
Emma Pinchbeck from the wind energy trade body Renewable UK told the BBC, "These figures are truly astonishing.
"We still think nuclear can be part of the mix - but our industry has shown how to drive costs down, and now they need to do the same."
In some places in the UK, onshore wind power and solar energy were already both cost-competitive with gas.
Meanwhile, the offshore wind sector was set to power a £17.5 billion investment surge into the UK economy within the next four years which had cut subsidies down by half.
Offshore wind costs are down to under £58 for every megawatt-hour of electricity produced, which was even lower than the estimates given by experts in the run-up to the results.
The contracts will produce for wind energy developers, a guaranteed revenue of just £57.50 per megawatt-hour of electricity produced in 2022/23. This comes as a steep fall from the £74.75/MWh granted to projects which started a year earlier, and is less than half the cost of turbines already producing power at around £150/MWh.