Offshore Wind in Europe; Walking the tightrope to success
March 2015 (Ernst and Young)
In a context of strong commitment on GHG emissions reduction and uncertainty on fossil fuel prices and energy security, the large-scale deployment of renewable energy capacity appears indispensable to Europe moving forward. Offshore wind energy represents a crucial component of the future European energy system:
• Offshore wind in Europe currently represents one of the most stable sources of renewable energy, with increased energy capture expected due to Europe’s leading position in offshore wind R&D.
• Offshore wind energy is expected to grow to 23.5 GW by 2020, tripling current installed capacity.
• Industry efforts to reduce capital and operating costs mean that offshore wind will become highly competitive by 2023 when compared to other sources of energy. LCoE could reach €90/MWh by 2030 as long as a continual stream of projects enters the pipeline.
• The policy framework for securing 27% renewables and 40% reduction in GHG emissions by 2030 is currently unclear. However, in an “Offshore Wind Scenario”, the installed capacity of offshore wind power could reach almost 65 GW by 2030, allowing wind energy to make up more than 25% of electricity generation in Europe.
• The “Offshore Wind Scenario” could also save Europe €18b each year on fuel imports in 2030. Applying the SCoE model to the “Offshore Wind Scenario” shows that it is possible to build a low carbon energy sector €4b cheaper than in a “Nuclear Scenario”. Compared with other energy mix scenarios, prioritizing offshore wind energy could create the most jobs in the energy sector, displace the most carbon, and would be cheaper for society than nuclear or conventional sources of energy.
Today’s needed actions for 2030
In order to secure Europe’s commitments to climate change, energy security and a low carbon economy, offshore wind should be considered as an important component to the power mix. Continued cost reduction and support from policy makers are necessary to maximize the potential of offshore wind resources and to realize the socioeconomic benefits of a fully industrialized and emerging sector. Several key priorities have been identified to address these challenges:
• Ensure a stable regulatory framework and define long-term policy schemes
• Improve access to finance for the offshore wind sector
• Ensure cost-effective grid investment and connection
• Address planning system issues
• Face supply and logistics challenges
• Support innovation and training, and enhance synergies to reduce costs
The potential of offshore wind and the industry today…The cost of offshore wind…The future of offshore wind… Industry and government actions to realize the potential of offshore wind…