United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Repowering to help make offshore wind cheaper than gas

UK: Offshore projects that begin construction in five years time will be cost competitive with gas-generated energy, according to a report from Statkraft.

Statkraft co-developed the 317MW Sheringham Shoal project in the North Sea
Statkraft co-developed the 317MW Sheringham Shoal project in the North Sea

The report predicts the UK offshore market will grow to 24GW by 2030. Repowering current offshore projects in the UK when required in the late 2020s would "at least double the total size and duration of the market" and make electricity generation cheaper than gas, the report found.

Larger turbines, advances in foundation and cable technologies and a more developed supply chain will also contribute to the industry being able to survive subsidy-free.

Offshore costs could fall to between £53/MWh (€76.1/MWh) and £99/MWh (€142.2/MWh) by 2030 according to the report. It places offshore costs for projects being built this year at between £105/MWh (€150/MWh) and £136/MWh (€195.3/MWh). 

The report "Offshore Wind: Delivering More For Less" by consultancy firm BVG Associates was commissioned by Norwegian utility and offshore developer Statkraft.

BVG said more advanced technology would add to the downward pressure of offshore costs, predicting 10MW+ turbines in the early 2020s. Concrete gravity foundations and jacket foundations will compete with monopile designs in deeper water, the report said. 

Year Turbine Size (MW) Project Size (GW) Water depth (metres) Distance to port/grid (kilometres) Wind speed at 100-metres (m/s) Cost of Energy: Offshore Wind (£/MWh) Cost of Energy: Combined Cycle Gas Turbine (£/MWh)
2005 2-3 <0.1 15-25 10-30 8.5-9.0 157-192 58-77
2010 3-4 0.3-0.6 25-35 10-60 9.0-9.5 152-190 61-92
2015 6-8 0.6-0.8 20-45 20-120 9.3-9.7 105-136 65-102
2020 7-9 0.6-1.2 30-45 50-240 9.5-10.0 76-110 70-110
2025 8-10 0.6-1.2 30-45 50-240 9.5-10.2 64-104 75-117
2025 (repowered) 8-10 0.2-0.4 15-25 10-60 8.5-9.0 64-104 75-117
2030 10-12 0.6-1.2 30-45 50-240 9.5-10.2 53-99 76-118
2030 (repowered) 10-12 0.3-0.6 25-30 10-60 9.0-9.5 53-99 76-118

A more developed supply chain would also help contribute to lowering costs. The report predicts projects being built in the middle of the next decade will have lifetime UK content (including servicing) of approximately 60% — up from around the current 40%.

Statkraft is involved at the 317MW Sheringham Shoal and 402MW Dudgeon offshore projects in the North Sea with compatriot Statoil. In February, it bought a stake in RWE Innogy's 900MW Triton Knoll project. Statkraft is also part of the Forewind consortium developing the 7.2GW Dogger Bank project.

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