30.05.12: Professor John Loughhead, Executive Director of the UK Energy Research Centre, is a guest contributor to a 16-page special report published in today’s Times, which considers the potential for offshore wind to become a key source of future renewable energy.
The supplement, which will be distributed at the Crown Estates Offshore Wind Conference for England on 31 May and at the Global Offshore Wind Conference 2012 on 13 and 14 June, aims to educate and encourage dialogue to all relevant stakeholders by targeting the influential groups that will help shape its future, and featuring objective analysis by leading industry journalist, global opinion leaders and sector experts of offshore wind’s critical contribution to the future energy mix and the investment opportunities it offers.
Offshore wind has vast potential, explains Professor Loughhead, with estimates that 100GW average power – more than twice the UK’s current typical electricity demand - could be generated from less than one third of UK waters shallower than 50 metres. Offshore installations also have less of an impact on communities, and capacity factors which approach 40% rather than the 25% typical of onshore systems.
But the cost of offshore wind turbines is also proving higher than expected, approaching £3000 per kilowatt of capacity, meaning each unit of electricity produced costs about twice that from a conventional power station. Engineering rotating machines for the marine environment is also difficult and costly, with UKERC’s analysis suggesting that costs are only likely to reduce by about 20% over the next ten years.
“There are challenges to overcome with the variability of wind power which requires back-up or other power balancing systems’, explains Professor Loughhead. ‘Offshore wind is not in the same place as our old coal-fired power stations, so we need a substantial reinforcement of the national grid to move the power to where it’s needed’.
For more information, or to interview Professor Loughhead, please contact:
Lindsay Wright, Head of Communications
UK Energy Research Centre
020 7594 2669
Charlotte Knight, Communications Officer
UK Energy Research Centre
020 7594 1573
About the UK Energy Research Centre
The UK Energy Research Centre, which is funded by Research Councils UK, carries out world-class research into sustainable future energy systems. It is the hub of UK energy research and the gateway between the UK and the international energy research communities. Our interdisciplinary, whole-systems research informs UK policy development and research strategy. www.ukerc.ac.uk
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