Manufacturing News from the Engineered Designer Perspective

Wind more economical than nuclear: offshore wind turbines in U.K. significantly less expensive per megawatt than planned nuclear

The strong winds offshore in Britain have made deep-water wind turbine power the most cost-effective electricity solution in Britain — more economical than nuclear. Denmark’s DONG Energy recently won at auction to build the world’s biggest offshore wind farm on the coast of northern England, around Yorkshire. In a formal announcement, future planned wind power was significantly less expensive than a future-planned nuclear plant.

RenewableUK announced: “Today’s results mean that both onshore and offshore wind are cheaper than gas and nuclear.”

 

Land-based versus shallow water, transitional water and deep water wind power. By Jplourde umaineOwn work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

 

With various logged bids for this and other wind operations, the prices dropped to 82.36 Euros (74.75 pounds or $98.52) per megawatt, dropping even further to 57.50 pounds for projects after 2022. This is significant because it’s below the cost of nuclear at a new planned Hinkley Point C nuclear plant at 92.50 pounds. The plant was awarded to a consortium led by EDF last year. Even more costly are planned wave and tidal power.

The Nuclear Industry Association did warn that regardless of the cost advantage, “one technology alone can’t solve the UK’s power challenge.”

 

Wind Turbine electrical subs-station Alpha Ventus by Adwen in the  North Sea. By SteKrueBe – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

 

Drawbacks to wind

Although the North Sea and offshore tends to almost always have wind, the main risk associated with wind and solar in general is unpredictability. When the output is down, gas, coal and nuclear fill in the shortfall. However, offshore tends to have fairly steady output day and night.

 

NASA view of planned wind farms near the Thames estuary. By Operational Land Imager, with annotations by Delusion23 – Annotated version of File:Thames Estuary and Wind Farms from Space NASA.jpg showing offshore wind farms, Public Domain, Link

 

 

 

 

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