Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses

Is the UK’s Surge into Offshore Wind a Glimpse of Things to Come?

(3BL Media/Justmeans) — It’s a great example of how regulation can lead to innovation. When the UK government took the surprising move of first ending subsides for onshore wind and then banning new development outright, it raised howls of protest from environmental groups, among others, as a step backwards in the march to a clean energy future.

Few could have anticipated that, only a short time later, the UK would become the world leader in offshore wind. A precipitous drop in costs, along with a strong determination to not lose ground on the renewables front, has led to a point where the Hornsea project, capable of powering one million homes, has come in at a cost of £57.50 ($76) per MW, a price that is competitive with natural gas in the US.

Danish Oil and Natural Gas (DONG), which is now, as a sign of the times, changing its name to Ørsted, in honor of Hans Christian Ørsted, the Danish physicist who first discovered the relationship between magnetic fields and electric currents, the principle at the heart of wind turbines, was instrumental in achieving these prices. Their Hornsea project 2, will cover some 185 square miles.

There is a great deal of excitement around these developments. Paula Cocazza waxes poetic in a Guardian story Wild is the Wind, suggesting that wind power is, “the resource that could power the world.”

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