The rise of electric cars will be a pyrrhic victory for the environment if they are powered by fossil fuels instead of renewables, according to the UK boss of the world’s biggest offshore windfarm developer. Matthew Wright, the new managing director of Dong Energy UK, said the cost of windfarms at sea had fallen so much that the big issue facing the industry was no longer levels of subsidies but how they integrated with the National Grid and emerging technologies. “The challenge is that having reached this tipping point in terms of its cost competitiveness, how do we integrate more offshore wind into the modern energy system?” he said. “How do we combine it with the rise of electric vehicles, the rise of storage and batteries, smart technology? It’s becoming a different phase [for the sector].” The cost of offshore wind power fell by nearly a third between 2012 and 2016 and the windfarms now generate 5% of the UK’s electricity, compared with 8% for onshore ones. It is the only large-scale form of renewable energy still supported by the government. Although Dong will not confirm so publicly, it may be among the offshore wind developers bidding for part of a £290m-a-year pot of government subsidies – known as contracts for difference – which are paid for through household energy bills. The auction results are due in early September. Some in the industry have already predicted that windfarms, due to be built early next decade, will come in cheaper than the deal for the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station of £92.50 per Mwh, about twice the wholesale price of electricity. The government’s pledge to ban new petrol and diesel car sales from 2040 was welcome because it would create extra demand for power, he said, but it would be a “bit odd” if vehicles were powered by a fossil fuel such as coal.
Guardian 13th Aug 2017 read more »
To support the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting temperature increase to 1.5°C, Europe will need a CO2-neutral electricity supply by 2045. A target we cannot meet unless we ramp up Europe’s offshore wind capacity, says Michiel Müller from consultancy Ecofys, a Navigant company.
Renew Economy 14th Aug 2017 read more »