Boris Johnson has pledged that offshore wind farms will be powering every home in the country by 2030. We explore reactions from the industry to Boris’ plan to help the UK “build back greener”, announcing £160m to upgrade ports and factories for building turbines in Scotland, Wales, Teesside and Humber.
According to Kevin Brundish, CEO at British battery cell company AMTE Power;
“We welcome this news, which will not only be valuable to offset emissions in carbon-intensive manufacturing industries, but for achieving the nation’s wider climate change objectives and supporting the global green agenda. Fluctuating renewable energy sources such as wind power require large amounts of energy storage to be fully optimised. Designed for multiple recharges, we see lithium ion batteries as a critical component to support the growth in offshore wind power.”
“A green recovery depends on the realisation of the Government’s Industrial Strategy, which outlines its ambitions on battery technologies and on-shore battery supply chains. To sustain the wider renewable energy industries, the Government must prioritise the creation of an onshore, full-cycle, supply chain for the scalable production of high quality lithium ion cells, in support of firms like AMTE Power. This will help bring to market the country’s outstanding talent and capabilities for developing innovative cell technology and allow the UK to become more competitive in the global arena.”
The Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF) brands the plan from UK Government as “economically foolish” and “unaffordable for most Britons.”
Dr Benny Peiser, the GWPF’s director, said;
“The PM’s pledge is a gift to the green lobby and a kick in the teeth for ordinary families and businesses who will have to pay a heavy price. Islington will be cheering, but the Red Wall will be spitting.”
GWPF go on to claim that the Prime Minister’s target will actually increase current costs still further because of the need to build turbines in deeper water with much higher operating costs. In addition, the forum also highlights hidden costs of integrating high levels of intermittent wind generation into the electricity system, adding at least 50% to the direct costs of the wind fleet.
The forum suggests that the “rash and misconceived pledge” will lead to no reasonable investor putting money into any UK manufacturing or related businesses with above average electricity consumption, and any prospect of post-Covid and post-Brexit recovery will be put into desperate jeopardy.
Will Owen, energy expert at Uswitch.com believes this to be an “ambitious pledge”, regardless of the UK already being a world leader in the amount of energy produced, but ultimately agrees that significant investment is needed if this is to become a reality;
“This summer has shown the challenges that come with managing a higher proportion of renewable power sources in the energy mix, and the National Grid will need a lot of investment to cope with power that ebbs and flows with the wind.
“Green tariffs already make up two thirds of the deals currently on the market, meaning consumers who want to do their bit have plenty of opportunity to switch to a renewable energy tariff and save money on their bills.”