Dave Toke: As offshore wind technology fully blooms as its own distinct mass industrial technology producing power at low prices, and as the prospect of floating wind turbines comes closer, the potential for the technology threatens to eclipse everything else – at least in countries with a large waterline, such as the UK. In reality solar pv technology costs are coming down at least as quickly, so that what is likely to happen in the coming years is that these two technologies will compete with each other (and with onshore wind of course) for market share. Indeed, such is the rate of cost reductions that some are now suggesting that the way to approach 100 per cent renewables targets is to minimise the use of batteries and other storage techniques, and simply to build gross overcapacity in wind and solar. That of course ushers in the possibility of uses for excess production, such as conversion to hydrogen, but that is another story. The story here is that on its own, the offshore wind available could generate over five times the anticipated total energy requirements for the UK in a ‘net zero carbon’ scenario – that is, based upon the Committee on Climate Change estimate that a mainly electric economy supplied from low carbon sources would require 645TWh of power generation in 2050. Wind power could do this as the cheapest electricity source available – apart from solar power of course, with which the competition will probably be intense in the future.
Chartist 18th April 2020 read more »