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UK offshore wind ‘will lower energy bills’ more than nuclear via The Guardian

RenewableUK chief says windfarms could offer cheaper prices than rates government agreed with new nuclear power stations

Offshore windfarms could provide cheaper power than Britain’s new wave of nuclear power stations, a leading figure in the wind industry has claimed.

Speaking to the the Guardian, Hugh McNeal, the chief executive of trade body RenewableUK, said he expected that offshore windfarms would secure a deal with the government lower than the £92.50 per megawatt hour agreed with EDF for £18bn Hinkley Point C.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if it [offshore wind] cleared Hinkley prices,” he said of the bidding for a £290m-a-year government subsidy pot in April. The auction is under a scheme known as contracts for difference, which offer generators a guaranteed price for their electricity above the wholesale price. A 35-year deal with EDF was agreed last year.

McNeal, a career civil servant who joined RenewableUK from the now abolished Department of Energy and Climate Change last year, was upbeat about the future of offshore wind.

[…]

The industry has also been buoyed by recent figures showing the price of offshore wind power had fallen by nearly one-third since 2012 to £100/MWh, a crucial milestone as the government will only continue to subsidise the technology if costs go down.

But McNeal said the decision by ministers to end onshore windfarm subsidies had been hard for the industry. The building of new turbines on land is expected to largely grind to a halt after next year.

Green energy subsidies are paid through energy bills, but MPs said last week that government efforts to communicate the impact on consumers had been “shambolic.” McNeal said he found the focus solely on the cost of new low-carbon power “a little bit odd” given the other factors driving energy price rises.

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