New offshore windfarms are set to be built for a record low price in the UK early in the 2020s.
In return for a subsidy of £57.50 per MegaWatt hour (MWh) Danish company Dong Energy will build its Hornsea Two project off the Yorkshire coast , while Spanish company EDP will build its Moray offshore windfarm in Scotland. Innogy, a German company, will build a windfarm at Triton Knoll, off the Lincolnshire coast, for a subsidy of £74.75 per MWh.
All of the above compare incredibly well with the UK's new nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point C, which is being built by French firm EDF for an agreed subsidy of £92.50 per MWh.
The three windfarm projects mentioned above will have a combined generating capacity of 3.2 giga Watts (GW), which is the same as Hinkley Point C, and they will all be producing energy by 2023, at least two years before Hinkley Point C comes onstream.
This shows that there is real hope for a low-carbon future. Renewable energy is getting cheaper - in 2015, offshore windfarm projects received subsidies of up to £120 per MWh, so in just two years, prices have shifted dramatically. Meanwhile solar prices are falling too.
There may still be a place for new nuclear energy. It produces no greenhouse gas emissions when generating electricity and can also provide the extra energy needed when there is a sudden surge in demand, or when the wind isn't blowing and the sun isn't shining. However, it may become increasingly difficult to justify its high costs in the face of the falling price of renewable energy and the rapid development of large-scale battery storage.
Photo of Teeside Offshore Windfarm by Paul.