Wind-farm developer Airtricity is drawing up plans for a £16 billion project to build a “super-grid” in the North Sea, connecting a huge 10,000 MW wind farm to the UK, Germany and the Netherlands.
The proposed farm could provide electricity for six million homes and involve an estimated 1,300 turbines.
The location has yet to be revealed and the scheme is dependent on massive infrastructure commitments, joint ventures with other companies and co-operation from UK, German and European governments.
The news comes as Ernst & Young published its Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index. It shows the UK wind industry facing increasing competition from other countries such as Spain (ranked first) the US (ranked second) and India, which are grabbing at market share. The US market in particular is booming, causing a global turbine shortage, leading to delays for some European projects and ultimately discouraging investment in more risky turnkey projects for offshore wind farms, it says.
And the UK government’s recent decision not to up its 15 per cent by 2015 renewable energy target is making it is difficult for generators to obtain contracts to sell electricity for more than 10 years, without providing large discounts on prices, which makes securing finance harder, according to Jonathan Johns, head of renewable energy at Ernst & Young.
Meanwhile, EEF is calling for the scrapping from 2015 of the government scheme which guarantees a market for renewable energy such as wind power and its replacement with a “zero carbon obligation” to pave the way for a new generation of nuclear power stations.
Author: Andrew Allcock