A game of chicken in the North Sea

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates

On of our cunning net zero goals is to have installed wind capacity of 50GW by 2030.  It is currently 15.  Whilst that always looked a stretch, I think the elastic has just broken.

In its annual auction of building permissions for off-shore wind, no company bid at the asking (strike) price of £44 per MWh.   Not one.   Clearly, the economists of the outfits that operate these machines know more about real world costs than Dept of Energy civil servants who refused to raise the price despite huge inflation in building costs.  The gruesome details are here, and include details of projects that were successful.

This looks like an own goal given that the whole point was to build more capacity.  Adding this to the fact that Vattenfall paused work on the ginormous Norfolk Boreas wind farm in July (permission gained in 2021) because of cost increases, makes for a miserable outlook.  The chicken might have been run over, but the auction will not be re-run.

Today, as I write this, it's yet another windless day: 7 in a row by my count).  It's not surprising, then, that the UK's 15GW [15,000 MW] installed wind capacity is only generating 880 MW of electricity and contributing 2.9% to our electricity demand.  But, come 2030: blessed day, suppose we had 50GW [50,000MW] safely installed, that would surely solve our problems?  No?

Not a bit of it.  Multiplying 880 (2.9%) by 3.3 [50 divided by 15] only gives us 2,900MW (10%).  I wonder where the rest would be coming from if there is no gas generation?  Batteries?

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates


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