Support schemes for offshore wind power – a requirement for investments

Offshore wind power is a source of energy still largely unexploited. Compared to other renewable energy technologies, offshore wind is an expensive technology to develop and deploy full scale. Thus today’s electricity market in Scandinavia is not economically sustainable for commercial operators of offshore wind.

Test projects for offshore wind power generation have been established and conducted successfully in Norway. Norway has extensive offshore expertise and competence as well as large volumes of wind resources along the coastline. Although everything seems to be in place to build an industry around offshore wind power generation, it seems to be a difficult task. To capitalize on Norway’s offshore wind resources in the current market situation a specifically designed support system to make offshore wind power production profitable needs to be in place. Unfortunately the political willpower appears absent.

The Swedish government is establishing a commission that is going to discuss technology specific support scheme for offshore wind power. This information is from the Swedish government budget proposal that was published  23rd of October. The Swedish government must include Norway in the discussions as both nations are involved in a joint support scheme. At the same time the United Kingdome is successfully becoming one of the largest producers of offshore wind power.

The United Kingdom is making way to drive the cost of offshore wind down, in commercializing the product. In the UK alone it installed over 3,700 MW capacity with offshore wind. In 2013, the total capacity globally increased by 1,600 MW. 733 MW was opened off the coast of the UK. It is expected that the same volume will be completed in 2014. Britain’s roadmap for renewable energy mentions that it will be completed 18GW by 2020 and 40 GW by 2030. By the end of 2013 it was already established 3.7 GW. The British government is with support schemes investing heavily in offshore wind and the goal is to get the price pr. MWh down to £ 95 by 2025, making offshore wind a competitive source of electricity generation. The price was 140 pounds in 2011.