Academics and critics have questioned the real cost of offshore wind power following claims that a cheaper than predicted wind project would change the solve the problem of high energy costs in the UK.
Director of the Scientific Alliance, Martin Livermore, called statements that the new, cheaper contracts issued for offshore wind energy would bring down the overall cost of green energy “misleading”.
The new wind project, Hornsea two, would give a guaranteed price of £57.50 plus additional costs of around £10-£22 per megawatt hour.
But according to figures from the department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy this remains high compared to natural gas, whose high forecasts of cost for 2018 are £62 per megawatt hour.
Comparisons were also made against Hinkley Point – the new nuclear power station planned for 2025 – whose price per megawatt hour guaranteed at £92.50. But critics point out that Hinkley Point has been labelled “risky and expensive” by the National Audit Office and is significantly higher than the average wholesale price in the UK.
Furthermore, critics raised that the figures ignore the cost of subsidies and wind power’s intermittency, requiring other forms of energy to provide power when the turbines are not functioning.
Former advisor to the Prime Minister, Nick Timothy, said major problems remain in the UK energy system and called for the scrapping of subsidies for wind power. Writing in The Telegraph he said: “Britain still has significant trouble with its energy retail market, its power generation, and its energy strategy. All three require decisive government action.” He added: “Britain has spent over £23 billion on subsidies for renewables since 2002, and now is the time to phase them out completely.”