UK offshore wants 14GW 2022 goal

An influential UK offshore wind industry group called for a minimum target of 14GW of capacity deployment through to 2022 as it warned it remains “very concerned” about the ability to meet the country’s goals.

The Offshore Wind Industry Council (OWIC) wrote to UK energy minister Michael Fallon setting out its concerns in late September, following a series of meetings with officials.

The sector had already raised fears over policy in areas including capacity ambition and the “strike prices” on offer to developers under the UK’s incoming contracts for difference (CfD) support regime.

Developers are particularly worried that the UK government’s plans are based on a capacity as low as 8GW by 2020, with little visibility beyond that.

In the letter to Fallon, signed by OWIC co-chair and ScottishPower Renewables CEO Keith Anderson, the body sets out two specific recommendations, saying it remains "very concerned" about the future development of the UK's giant Round 3 offshore projects.

The first calls for measures to underpin confidence in the market.

“Consideration should be given to stating a minimum target for offshore wind deployment within the CfD mechanism of up to 14GW between now and 2022.

“This would have the benefit of providing confidence to the supply chain to invest and also confidence to developers that there would be enough volume to deliver cost reductions to the supply chain.”

The letter adds a second recommendation: “The industry strongly believes that cost reduction is a function of volume and time. The degression of strike prices should therefore be linked to the volume of megawatts being installed on the system and time

“For example the first 3GW of Round 3 projects to be installed would get the initial strike price, the next 3GW would get the initial strike price less £5 and so on.

“This would allow volumes to drive down prices and still control the use of the levy, as support  is capped by megawatts in each period.”