NewEnergyNews: TODAY’S STUDY: HOW TO CUT OFFSHORE WIND COSTS

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    Monday, March 09, 2015

    TODAY’S STUDY: HOW TO CUT OFFSHORE WIND COSTS

    Cost Reduction Monitoring Framework; Summary Report to the Offshore Wind Programme Board

    February 2015 (Innovate UK – Offshore Wind Energy Council)

    Executive Summary

    The Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult was commissioned by the Offshore Wind Programme Board and sponsored by the members of the Offshore Wind Industry Council (OWIC) to develop a Cost Reduction Monitoring Framework (CRMF) for the offshore wind industry. The design of the CRMF was developed jointly by the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult and The Crown Estate.

    Results show that the Levelised Cost of Energy (LCoE) of offshore wind has reduced by 11% during the period 2010-2014. Evidence suggests that the target of £100/MWh by 2020 is achievable; however, challenges remain. This report describes these challenges and provides recommendations.

    The evidence supporting this report’s findings and recommendations is contained in both a quantitative and a qualitative analysis conducted by Deloitte and DNV GL respectively.

    Cost reductions are being achieved largely by progress in the development of larger turbines, XL monopile foundations, improvements in operation & maintenance and extended design life. Progress is also being made in finance (cost of debt, equity and insurance) and across the supply chain (competition, collaboration, contracting)…

    Recommendations

    Below are the primary recommendations to the OWPB to ensure that progress continues and the target is achieved for projects reaching FID by 2020.

    1. Clarify the Government’s future programme and level of regulatory support for offshore wind after the current CfD auction, and with respect to the Levy Control Framework beyond 2020. Industry investors and supply chain innovators need the market opportunity to be clearly illustrated such that sufficient investment can be attracted to reduce costs. This message must be clearly and consistently communicated across the industry to administrators and policy makers.

    2. Encourage the demonstration of balance of plant innovations such as novel foundations and optimised electrical networks. Technology demonstration remains a major hurdle to commercialisation and electrical networks and foundations innovations must deliver on their cost reduction potential if the overall targets are to be achieved. The industry should collaboratively support these innovations and facilitate efficient knowledge sharing to enable rapid adoption.

    3. Investigate the potential impact of lower than anticipated levels of investment in the jack-up and heavy lift construction vessel fleets, particularly for foundation installation. Additionally, the influence of a depressed international oil price should be considered on vessel availability. One of the largest impacts of a smaller market is on fit for purpose vessel development. It should be determined what fleet size and vessel capability is required to support the volumes predicted over the next five to ten years.

    4. Support the capture and sharing of knowledge and best practice through increased collaboration with a view to increasing the predictability of project execution. Identifying and promoting best practice in project execution will support the reduction of contingencies. It would be reasonable to expect some reduction to financial contingencies as offshore wind construction activities become more established but there is no clear evidence that contingency levels are decreasing for new projects. It is noted that, due to rapid technology innovation, a significant amount of uncertainty continues to be priced into projects when making investment decisions.

    5. Continue to monitor cost reduction progress in the UK and extend to take consideration of European offshore wind development. An annual assessment of progress against key qualitative milestones requires significant industry support to ensure all relevant evidence is gathered. The ongoing assessment of actual project costs requires continued support and engagement from asset owners with the Cost Reduction Monitoring Framework. It is also recommended that the metric used to assess the progress of ‘Growth and Scale’ is reviewed to ensure that it remains relevant as the target year of 2020 approaches.

    6. Further consideration should be given to identifying and, if required and appropriate, addressing the gaps in skills and expertise required to deliver and operate an offshore wind farm.

    This report combines and summarises the findings and recommendations of the primary Qualitative and Quantitative assessment reports prepared by DNV GL and Deloitte LLP respectively. Additional recommendations are included in each of these reports and further details can be found on the ORE Catapult website https://ore.catapult.org.uk/CRMF.

    Conclusions

    The Cost Reduction Monitoring Framework has been highly successful in drawing together a coherent picture of the costs of recent projects within the UK offshore wind industry and provides an accurate assessment of the associated cost reduction trajectory.

    Results show that the Levelised Cost of Energy (LCoE) of offshore wind has reduced by 11% during the period 2010-2014. Evidence suggests that the target of £100/MWh by 2020 is achievable; however, challenges remain.

    Cost reductions are being achieved by progress in the development of larger turbines, XL monopiles, improvements in O&M and extended design life. Progress is also being made in finance (cost of debt, equity and insurance) and across the supply chain (competition, collaboration, contracting). However, market growth has been lower than forecast by The Pathways Study and whilst good progress has been made there are risks to continued cost reduction:

    • the supply chain, including turbine manufacturers, does not have sufficient confidence in the size of the market up to and beyond 2020 to justify making the technology investments that will drive cost reduction further.

    • solutions expected to be necessary for constructing deeper water further offshore sites, e.g. jacket and/or gravity-based foundations and HVDC connections, are not being developed quickly enough.

    Whilst this report concludes that good progress is being made towards the LCoE target of £100/MWh by 2020, there is still more work to be done to lock in the cost reductions delivered and ensure the momentum is maintained.

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