The United Kingdom has some of the richest wind resources in the world. For years this potential lay untapped, but efforts in the UK are at last taking off.
An important policy shift came a couple weeks ago government officials at the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and the independent regulatory agency Ofgem moved towards confirming plans to open up the construction of new offshore grids and connects to engineering firms. The new grid construction will help connect offshore wind installations to the mainland grid.
The regulatory agency Ofgem lauds the decision, saying that its in the nation's best interests to let companies compete to build these new portions of the grid. Currently connections to offshore turbines are mostly built and managed by the government’s National Grid effort. By licensing the construction and management of these connections to independent firms, Ofgen says the cost of construction and operations will drop dramatically.
An Ofgem spokesman states, “Clearly, there are companies around the world that can do this work and we're expecting a great deal of interest because it's a long-term low risk investment for them.”
Companies will consult with Ofgem and the government, starting May 6, and licenses will start being handed out a month later. The demand for grid development licenses is expected to be intense, given the furious nature of the UK Crown Estate’s (yes, the land is owned by the Queen) auction of new installation licensing last month, which saw bids for up to 25 GW of total capacity, covering all 9 of the UK’s offshore zones.
In total 40 zone bids were received from 18 companies or green power alliances. Among the top bidders were Germany utility E.ON, Denmark's Dong Energy, Norway's StatoilHydro, Spain's Iberdrola Renovables, Germany's RWE and the UK's Scottish and Southern Energy.
The new installations, and upcoming licensing of grid work to support them, should help the UK achieve its power goals of having 25 GW of wind power active by 2020. The UK is also looking to follow EU targets, which call for 15 percent of its energy and 30 to 40 percent of its power come from alternative sources. And the new grid policies couldn’t have come at a better time – New Energy Finance reported last year that 11 GW of the UK’s offshore installations are stuck in planning due to lack of grid support.
written by TheZov, April 11, 2009
written by Fred, July 27, 2009
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