Offshore power ‘will fail without subsidies’

Offshore power ‘will fail without subsidies’

JULY 26, 2021tags: wind power

By Paul Homewood

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Most wind farms in Britain will not be economically viable when existing subsidies end and will close prematurely without further revenue support, new analysis suggests.

A report commissioned by SSE has found that the huge expansion of wind power in the UK is likely to push wholesale electricity prices so low on windy days that most wind farms will be unable to cover their operating costs simply from selling power into the market.

This could lead to mass early closures of offshore and onshore wind farms when their existing subsidy arrangements end, primarily from the 2030s. Building new wind farms to replace them could increase the costs of hitting Britain’s net zero target by £20 billion, the report says.

Some of us have been saying this for a long while.

There will, of course, be times when prices are high, but as this will be when wind power is low the wind operators will not benefit.

It already looks inevitable that wind turbines will become prohibitively expensive to maintain once they get that old, particularly offshore ones.The removal of subsidies, coupled with over capacity, will send many operators over the edge.

Not only does this have cost implications, it will also pose challenges for security of supply. It can take several years to construct offshore wind farms, so what will happen if a chunk of older capacity suddenly disappears?

We know that many wind farms are owned by shell companies, often abroad. It is not difficult to envisage a situation where they take the money and run, leaving behind the rusting turbines which they are supposed to be decommissioning.

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