One of the major challenges for offshore wind, and renewable energy technologies more generally, is the extent to which they can compete with other forms of energy on cost. DECC’s 2011 Roadmap outlines an ambition for 11-18GW of offshore wind operational by 2020, but makes the achievement of 18GW conditional on a reduction in the cost of offshore wind to £100/MWh by 2020.
In June 2012, The Crown Estate published a report demonstrating pathways which can reduce the levelised cost of offshore wind energy. Four cost reduction pathways were developed, through extensive consultation with industry; which combine improvements in technology, improvements in the supply chain, and reductions in the cost of finance. The pathways show that, provided a number of government and industry pre-requisites are met in the next few years, it is possible to reduce the levelised cost of offshore wind energy to around £100/MWh by 2020. Following the publication of The Crown Estate’s study, and the accompanying report by the Cost Reduction Taskforce, DECC has established an Offshore Wind Programme Board to take forward the cost reduction challenge.