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Offshore wind hits the rocks.

No bidders in renewable energy auction

Ministers last week admitted that there had been no bidders in the UK government’s latest auction for offshore wind, with energy companies citing that the current system meant that offshore schemes were no longer financially viable.

This will have come as a surprise to many, as the renewable sector had seemed to almost guaranteed to continue growing exponentially. However, most of the players in the market predicted this would be the case, as the price of energy they’d been offered didn’t take into account the huge inflation of costs that have impacted businesses nationwide. The spiralling costs for manufacture and construction have simply led firms to decide against investing. So big have inflationary pressures been, that even existing approved schemes have been put on hold due to profitability concerns.

All of this appears to be on the face of it, understandable yet concerning in equal measure. However, even considering the increased costs, the fact is that offshore wind is already one of the cheapest energy sources available, which has led many to question the governments approach.

Perhaps it could be argued that the government is simply testing the waters and if nobody takes the bait, it’s no big deal as they can increase the price on offer at the next auction. But because the manufacturing of wind turbines creates so many jobs right here in the UK, we can ill afford a sudden drop off in demand, particularly when it still appears to be the best most cost-effective option anyway. The danger is that the UK could be left behind in a rapidly developing sector at a crucial time. In an environment like that, if you blink in the face of stiff competition, you might miss the boat altogether…

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