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UK offshore wind industry demands more subsidies

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Those who are still trying to claim that offshore wind is somehow cheaper than other forms of energy, notably coal, despite all the problems in the UK, may be interested in this development. As noted in this release from RenewableUK the wind industry’s leading UK lobby groups have written to the Government saying that various projects are under threat unless they get more money, and the current system for subsidising wind energy abandons this strange idea of trying to minimise government expenditure. Specifically, among other points the wind industry is saying "the  budget for fixed-foundation offshore wind alone would need to be at least two and a half times higher than its current level to maximise the capacity which could now be secured in this year’s auction. It also suggests that fixed-foundation offshore wind should be put back into a separate budget pot to maximise deployment". 

Commentary from hostile (that is, sceptical) sources does not put a figure on this and the actual letter has not been made available that I can see, but the commentary says the demand amount to 

1) A vast increase in the budget for the fifth auction (AR5) of Contracts for Difference subsidies (this is a mechanism for subsidising the power produced), with an increase of two and half times the current levels for non-floating offshore wind alone;

2) Special new targets and thus market shares for floating offshore wind, one of the most expensive of all forms of generation, and, most importantly of all,

3) a revision to the auction rules so that the winners are not determined by lowest bids but by an administrative decision that weights bids according to their “value” in contributing towards the Net Zero targets.

This directly contradicts years of propaganda about how offshore wind would become so cheap, subsidies would not be necessary. Offshore wind is an extremely expensive form of power.  


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