Brian Wilson: The tipping point for renewables will be when they can compete with other forms of generation without requiring subsidy. This is a lot closer than seemed possible even a couple of years ago. Indeed, it has happened already in Chile where wind and solar generators have secured major power contracts on an unsubsidised basis. Closer to home, the Contract for Difference offshore wind auction last September rendered previous assumptions obsolete when Engie’s Moray East project secured CfD with a startlingly low bid. With technology developing and the size of turbines increasing, it is quite plausible to think of offshore wind becoming a fully competitive generation source within a few short years. For all the indignation which followed the UK Government’s decision to end subsidy for new offshore wind projects, that reality has been assimilated comfortably into the industry’s calculations – and windfarms are still being built. When the same happens with offshore wind, with its far greater potential capacity, that really will be a game-changer in the energy market. There are few certainties as we enter 2018 but one is that the facts and figures available by the year’s end will be even more striking. For those with the keenest awareness of environmental issues, the pace of change will never be fast enough and demands will continue to be made. But the good news is that progress towards a new energy era – driven by the world’s biggest economies – is now unstoppable.
Energy Voice 11th Jan 2018 read more »