The latest round of offshore wind farms to be built in the UK could reduce household energy bills by producing electricity very cheaply. Wind power could become the cheapest form of energy for the UK.
Renewable energy projects, including onshore and offshore wind and solar farms, have so far been subsidised by government support schemes. This has led to some to complain that clean energy is pushing up bills.
However, the most recently approved offshore wind projects will most likely operate with ‘negative subsidies’, or by paying money back to the government. The money will go towards reducing household energy bills as the offshore wind farms start producing power in the mid-2020s, say analysts from Imperial College London.
Lead researcher Dr Malte Jansen said in a statement: “Offshore wind power will soon be so cheap to produce that it will undercut fossil-fuelled power stations and may be the cheapest form of energy for the UK. Energy subsidies used to push up energy bills, but within a few years cheap renewable energy will see them brought down for the first time. This is an astonishing development.”
One reason the price of offshore wind has fallen so rapidly is technology development, in particular the ability to build larger wind turbines further out at sea. Larger turbines can harness more wind energy and have access to more consistent wind speeds at higher altitudes.
The biggest wind turbines under construction have rotor diameters of 220 metres – twice the diameter of the London Eye. At the same time, wind farms are getting larger; the newest wind farm at Dogger Bank has the same installed capacity as Hinkley Point C and is expected to produce about two-thirds of its annual electricity.
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