The UK is proud of its status as the world’s number-one offshore wind market but it’s not all been plain sailing for the sector in recent months, and global pacesetter Orsted suffered another British setback last week when the final OK on its 2.4GW Hornsea 3 project was bumped yet again.
Recharge revealed that the heart of the big problem is a little bird called the kittiwake, with Danish developer Orsted apparently struggling to find a way to mitigate impact on its populations off eastern England as a result of the up-to $10bn project.
There was better news for Sweden’s Vattenfall, which saw its own 1.8GW Norfolk Vanguard finally secure UK consent, but the new Hornsea delay is likely to add to fears of lost momentum in the industry, which the UK government was advised to tackle with billions of pounds more funding for more regular contract-for-difference auctions.
The UK sector’s stutters came as Poland set down a marker to follow it as the next big thing in European offshore wind, not least by working towards a British-style ‘sector deal’ for the industry.
A cooperation pact signed between the Warsaw government and industry players was hailed by WindEurope as the “birth of offshore wind in Poland”.
Norway’s Equinor was equally upbeat, predicting that Polish offshore wind is perfectly placed to replicate the UK’s success.
Recharge also reported the wider geopolitical dimension as NATO emphasised the importance of offshore wind to Poland’s energy security, and a naval commander explained how the renewable source is helping reduce the Baltic region’s reliance on Russian gas.
India – one of the world’s most dynamic renewable energy markets that also faces its fair share of challenges – featured prominently on the Recharge website last week as it continued its pursuit of ambitious wind and solar targets.
Meeting those goals is going to be tough, but the nation’s power minister RK Singh claimed electricity distributors will soon be queuing up for wind and solar capacity to avoid tough new penalties under renewable obligation rules.
That would be good news for foreign development giants such as Italy’s Enel, which has just scored its biggest ever project win in India – and Asia – with 420MW in a solar auction.
It would be highly welcome too for Suzlon, the local wind turbine giant which finally wrapped up its long-running debt restructuring and says it’s now ready to return to the business of equipping projects.
What is undeniable is that India is seeing genuine innovation in its power market through technology-neutral, hydrid and round-the-clock tenders, as MEC+ Intelligence boss Sidharth Jain explains in his latest exclusive column for Recharge.