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UK wind electricity cheaper than nuclear: data
London (AFP) Sept 11, 2017

Last of the 67 turbines for a British wind farm installed
Washington (UPI) Sep 7, 2017 - Statoil, a Norwegian oil and gas company with a footprint in renewables, said the last of the 67 turbines at a wind facility off the British coast is in place.

Statoil said the last of the 67 turbines at the Dudgeon wind farm off the British coast are in place. By next month, the facility could provide service for 410,000 average British homes at peak capacity, though phased installations meant households started receiving electricity in February.

Apart from Russia, Norway is one of the leading oil and natural gas suppliers to the European market. Statoil is its main energy company, but said wind energy was a natural fit.

"Dudgeon offshore wind farm is part of Statoil's strategy of gradually supplementing our oil and gas portfolio with profitable renewable energy," Irene Rummelhoff, the executive vice president for new energy solutions at Statoil, said in a statement.

Statoil already counts several projects in its renewable energy portfolio. Through a memorandum of understanding signed with the Scottish government, the company aims to install a Lithium battery storage system within two years.

The company last year signed a letter of intent with state-owned renewable energy company Statkraft to take over as the operator of the Sheringham Shoal wind farm off the British coast, which is already in operation.

Working since 2012, Sheringham Shoal is one of the largest offshore wind farms in service in the world with its capacity to provide enough power to meet the annual demands of nearly a quarter million average households.

Statoil said the Dudgeon facility was completed on time and below the $1.9 billion budget set when the final investment decision was made in 2014.

The United Kingdom ranks second in Europe behind Germany for offshore wind energy capacity, with about 518 megawatts.

The price of electricity from offshore wind in Britain has dipped below the level guaranteed to Hinkley Point, raising questions about the construction of the vast nuclear power station.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy disclosed Monday the results of auctions for state subsidies for three new wind offshore farms.

Denmark's DONG Energy won the auction to build Hornsea Two, which will become the world's biggest offshore wind farm off the coast of Yorkshire in northern England.

Germany's Innogy and Norway's Statkraft won the auction for Triton Knoll off Lincolnshire in eastern England, while Moray in Scotland was won by a consortium comprising EDP Renovaveis of Portugal and ENGIE of France.

"The projects, which are set to generate over three gigawatts of electricity, enough to power 3.6 million homes, demonstrate that the UK continues to be an attractive place to invest in clean energy," the department said in a statement.

The companies lodged bids for the so-called "strike price" they will be paid by the state for electricity generated, with the lowest amounts securing the deals.

Those prices have tumbled to 74.75 pounds (82.36 euros, $98.52) per megawatt hour for projects deliverable in 2021/2022, and to 57.50 pounds for projects due in 2022/2023.

- 'Nail in the coffin' -

The price of offshore wind has fallen far below that of nuclear, with the planned Hinkley Point C power plant in southwestern England having secured subsidies of 92.50 pounds per megawatt hour.

The gigantic Hinkley project was awarded to a French-Chinese consortium -- led by French giant EDF -- last year but has been plagued by long delays and cost overruns.

"Today's results mean that both onshore and offshore wind are cheaper than gas and nuclear," noted trade body RenewableUK in a statement on Monday.

However, the Nuclear Industry Association cautioned in another statement that "one technology alone can't solve the UK's power challenge".

Wind and solar production have the drawback of being unpredictable, with countries needing to call on gas, coal or nuclear plants to raise output if there is no breeze or sun.

British government wind power subsidies have now halved since the last auction was held in 2015.

Environmentalists have long urged the government to focus on renewable sources like wind and solar power to meet Britain's energy needs.

Opponents have criticised the high guaranteed Hinkley price level, which is fixed over 35 years and rises with inflation.

Lawmaker Caroline Lucas, co-leader of the Green Party, said the massive price drop for offshore wind should be the "nail in the coffin" for new nuclear power.

"The government's undying commitment to new nuclear risks locking us into sky-high prices for years to come," Lucas warned.

- 'Big step forward' -

Meanwhile, Michael Ware, partner at BDO's corporate finance division, said Monday's announcement raised questions over the future of tidal and wave energy -- which are more costly.

"We were pleasantly surprised by the low price bids in the latest auction," Ware told AFP, describing it a "vindication" of government policy.

"However, it does beg the obvious question of where a 57.50 pounds strike price leaves other nascent technologies, such as tidal and wave, which are probably not economically viable at that level.

"It also puts the (price) being paid for Hinkley Point into sharp perspective."

Nevertheless, Ware added it was "a big step forward in the transition to a renewable (energy) grid".

Last of the 67 turbines for a British wind farm installed
Washington (UPI) Sep 7, 2017
Statoil, a Norwegian oil and gas company with a footprint in renewables, said the last of the 67 turbines at a wind facility off the British coast is in place. Statoil said the last of the 67 turbines at the Dudgeon wind farm off the British coast are in place. By next month, the facility could provide service for 410,000 average British homes at peak capacity, though phased installatio ... read more

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