BIG OCEAN ENERGY IN UK
Huge Potential for British Offshore Energy; A new report on renewable energy estimates that by 2050, Britain could harness wind, tidal, and wave power to generate six times its current energy consumption
Nick Clark, May 21, 2010 (Bloomberg BusinessWeek)
"The offshore renewable energy industry could generate the same amount of electricity a year by 2050 as one billion barrels of oil, using less than a third of the available space…The Offshore Valuation Group (OVG) published a full economic study of the UK's offshore renewable resources for the first time…[It] found that harnessing 29 per cent of the UK's practical wind, wave and tidal resources would match the electricity generated by North Sea oil and gas production. The move would be a huge boost in cutting emissions…
"The report said harnessing the full potential for offshore renewables would generate enough for the UK to power itself six times over at current levels of demand, making it a net energy exporter to continental Europe…The comparison with the North Sea reserves was important as OVG pointed out that the stock of hydrocarbon reserves is running out….The study estimated that it would cost £443bn to harness 29 per cent of the offshore resources, but that the scheme would generate £62bn in annual exports. Lifting the investment to £993bn – or 76 per cent of available resources – would generate £164bn."
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"Currently the lion's share of renewable capacity is allocated to fixed wind turbines, with small amounts allocated to tidal stream and wave power. The study predicts that floating wind turbines have the most potential, possibly being able to generate 1,533 terawatt hours a year; 2,100 terawatt hours would have been enough to power the UK six times over in 2009."
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"In 2007, the UK signed up to the EU target to generate 15 per cent of its energy supply from renewables by 2020. The next year the government pushed through the Climate Change Act, which pledged an 80 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050…[The new] report added that the UK's existing electricity generating plants are ageing, with 80 per cent needing to be replaced by 2030. This includes 8.5GW of coal power facing closure in seven years time.
"…RenewableUK said building offshore was quicker than onshore, [but] there are huge challenges to hit the levels outlined in the report. There are issues of capacity in the industry for the big builds, especially with some of the projects further offshore, at a time when finance is tough to come by…"