In an April 26 speech to delegates at the Clean Energy (News - Alert) Ministerial (CEM3) in Central London, Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron broke news of an agreement by more than 20 major global power players to tap offshore renewables at the North Sea – which he described as “a remarkable European energy asset that has the potential to lead the world in offshore wind and carbon capture and storage.”
“At a time when higher gas prices are leaving families and businesses struggling with their energy bills and when we are fighting to get to grips with our debts; we don’t just need greener energy – we need cheaper energy too,” said Cameron, speaking to energy ministers from 23 leading economies. “Today renewable energy is still relatively expensive, but government and industry are together proving that we can get costs down quickly. Already, solar costs have halved in two years. Onshore wind costs are falling too. And we are this week stepping up our efforts with industry to bring down the cost of offshore wind.”
Industry participants in the Norstec deal – which takes inspiration from the “Desertec” solar initiative – include major offshore wind developers, manufacturers and wide range of supply chain companies. This network will come together during the RenewableUK Global Offshore Wind 2012 conference, June 13–14 in London, to discuss in more detail how the new alliance will operate.
Among the project signatories, to date, are: Alstom (France), AREVA (France), Balfour Beatty Utility Solutions (UK), David Brown (News - Alert) Gear Systems Ltd. (UK), Dong Energy (Denmark), E.On (German), EDPR (Spain), Fluor Ltd (UK), Gamesa (Spain), Harland and Wolff (UK) JDR Cables (UK), Mainstream (USA), Modus Seabed Intervention Ltd (UK), National Grid (UK), Parsons (News - Alert) Brinckerhoff (USA), PMT Industries Ltd. (UK), Prysmian Group (China), Renewable UK, Repower (Poland), Repsol (Spain), Scottish Power (UK), Scottish & Southern Electric (UK), Siemens (News - Alert) (Germany), Statkraft (Norway), Statoil (Norway), TAG Energy Solutions (UK), Vattenfall (Sweden), and Vestas (Denmark).
“Since the 1960s, North Sea oil and gas has given Britain – and many of our neighbours – a real competitive advantage,” stated Cameron. “This came about because of the ingenuity of the private sector together with strong pro-active support from government. Today, that same partnership between government and business has the potential to make North Sea once again a source of investment and comparative advantage.”
The Prime Minister also heralded continuing efforts to reduce technology costs. In the offshore wind sector, he said, the Crown Estate has joined with industry through the Cost Reduction Task Force, to take a detailed look at how Britain can reduce the cost of offshore wind to £100 (US$161) per megawatt hour (MWh) by 2020, for example, considering the impact of technology, finance and supply chain developments.
Edited by Braden Becker