lundi 11 janvier 2010

UK : 32GW d'ENR d'ici à 2020 ?

UK plans unprecedented offshore wind expansion

The UK government gave on Friday (8 January) its green light to the construction of nine new offshore wind farms, which would see Europe's capacity multiply and bring the UK closer to meeting its renewable energy targets.


In December 2008, the EU agreed a new directive on the promotion of renewable energy (EurActiv 09/12/08). It set each member state an individual target in order to reach an overall share of 20% of renewables in the bloc's energy mix.

Offshore wind energy is expected to become a major contributor to reaching these goals. At the forefront of development, the UK is estimated to have the biggest potential in Europe.

The so-called 'Round 3' grants announced will deliver 32 gigawatts (GW) of clean energy, supplying a quarter of the UK's total electricity needs by 2020. This adds to the 8GW provided by previous rounds.

The winning companies signed contracts with the Crown Estate, which owns the British sea bed, for exclusive rights to develop offshore wind in these areas.

The contract for the biggest area in Dogger Bank, which could potentially produce 9GW, went to a consortium including Statoil and RWE Npower Renewables, one of leading renewable energy developers in the UK. Other winners include a consortium between Scottish Power Renewables and Vattenfall Vindkraft, and the company Eon Climate and Renewables UK.

The developers will now have to get their proposals through the planning and consent phases.

The winning projects pose major challenges in that they are expected to mount turbines in deeper waters and further away from the shore than previously attempted.

"The engineering challenge is huge and will require us to deploy offshore turbines at unprecedented rates in hostile waters to ensure we meet our renewable energy and carbon reduction targets," commented Tom Delay, chief executive of the Carbon Trust.

The UK intends to harness its wind resources – estimated to be the largest in Europe – to deliver a large chunk of its clean energy obligations under the EU's Renewable Energy Directive. The country's 2020 target is to produce 15% of its energy from renewable sources, which translate into a share of around 30-35% in its electricity generation.

"The offshore wind industry is at the heart of the UK economy's shift to low carbon and could be worth £75 billion and support up to 70,000 jobs by 2020," said UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Running into headwinds

Construction of many of the Round 3 wind farms is due to start in 2015, but the industry has warned about potential delays amid uncertainty over government support.

The UK government announced in December that a temporary incentive for offshore wind would be extended until 2014 under the Renewables Obligation Mechanism. Without a promise of continued subsidy, developers of the new wave of wind farms fear that they will have problems raising capital, which could mean delays.

Nevertheless, many leading industry figures believe that the costs of manufacturing turbines and installing them will continue to fall, attracting investors. Indeed, the significant increase in global demand resulting from the UK's announced expansion is expected to bring down prices significantly.

But even if the wind farms help the UK to reach its 2020 renewables goals, sceptics doubt that the economic benefits for the country will be as significant as the prime minister is predicting.

The scale of the expansion requires increased manufacture of turbines, but the lack of domestic capacity in the UK is bound to re-route much of the investment abroad.

Indeed, manufacturers' organisation EEF estimates that only 10% of the budget for London Array, the world's largest wind farm under construction, will actually be spent in the UK.

SOURCE : Euractive

Aucun commentaire:

Enregistrer un commentaire