A new report shows that more coordination in the development of offshore cables and power grid infrastructure could reduce the cost of offshore connections. The study shows that in the UK, better organisation and cooperation amongst wind farms investors and offshore transmission owners would reduce costs by 8-15% (€0.95bn – €4.2bn). This would be hugely beneficial in the development of an offshore grid network, linking all of Europe to offshore wind farms.
The principle is straightforward – increased coordination between wind farm investors and offshore transmission owners would mean that instead of building individual connections to land for each development, it would be possible to link the wind farms, lowering overall construction and operating costs.
The report was published by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), and the UK energy regulator Ofgem, which has launched a consultation on potential changes to the regulatory regime for offshore transmission assets.
Charles Hendry, UK Minister of State for Energy, said: “There are a number of ways we can reduce the cost of offshore wind, and this is definitely one of the most exciting.
“Linking up power cables between offshore wind farms could make some serious savings, so we would be crazy not to encourage it. These cables could even be linked up to European projects, increasing opportunities for trading electricity.
Guy Nicholson of RenewableUK said: “Early investment in planning, developing, permitting and constructing offshore transmission will help to deliver networks in the most cost effective manner. As well as connecting the 18 GW of offshore wind generation RenewableUK expects to be operating by 2020, the offshore transmission regime can help reduce timescales and costs for both onshore reinforcements and interconnection with the rest of Europe.”
By Tom Rowe, EWEA