Harnessing energy from the marine environment has proved expensive, but as expertise has grown costs have fallen. Combining battery storage with offshore wind will stabilise power and prices, writes Mike Scott
The cost of offshore wind power has fallen at a dizzying rate in the past few years. The same is true of energy storage. Now there are plans to put the two together, to boost the flexibility and economic viability of offshore wind still further.
A few years ago, the offshore wind industry was warning that it would struggle to meet its target for reducing costs to below £100 per megawatt hour (MWh) by 2020. Offshore costs are higher because of the difficulty of installing, maintaining and decommissioning turbines in the challenging marine environment.
In 2017, two new projects won contracts to deliver power at £57.50/MWh – cheaper than new gas-fired power stations
However, thanks to concerted efforts to cut costs and apply the lessons of earlier rounds of offshore wind installations, the 2020 target was met in the 2015/16 round of capacity auctions and in 2017, two new projects won contracts to deliver power at £57.50/MWh. This was cheaper than new gas-fired power stations and significantly lower than the £97.50 “strike” price for the UK's Hinkley Point nuclear power station.
The same trend can be seen in the battery storage sector, where costs have fallen by 80% since 2010, according...