UK to unveil £160m wind energy investment
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will today announce a major £160 million investment in wind power in a bid to fuel every home in the country with renewable energy within 10 years.
Next-generation turbines are earmarked for Teeside, Humber, Scotland and Wales as the UK adopts a "gale force approach" to the green economy, with the aim of becoming less reliant on fossil fuels and creating up to 60,000 jobs in ports, factories and supply chains - replacing many lost during the pandemic.
The ambitious targets will see the UK strive to become a 'world leader in clean power' with output rising from 30 to 40 gigawatts: 'build back better' is to become 'build back greener'.
The UK needs around 7,500 offshore wind turbines to meet a carbon emissions target of zero by 2050, the Committee on Climate Change reported last year. Alongside wind power, the UK government is keen to support carbon capture and hydrogen technologies.
While prices for all renewables continue to drop, offshore wind is at an earlier stage of development "so its prices can be expected to fall further, faster, thus improving its competitive position," according to a McKinsey report.
Advances in turbine technology are leading to greatly improved system performances and efficiencies and lower component costs. A dramatic drop in the cost of offshore wind power, coupled with a slight rise in wholesale power prices, will likely mean the newest wind farms coming online will operate with negative subsidy.
Drax advances biomass strategy with Pinnacle acquisition
The Group’s enlarged supply chain will have access to 4.9 million tonnes of operational capacity from 2022. Of this total, 2.9 million tonnes are available for Drax’s self-supply requirements in 2022, which will rise to 3.4 million tonnes in 2027.
The £424 million acquisition of the Canadian biomass pellet producer supports Drax' ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and will make a "significant contribution" in the UK cutting emissions by 78% by 2035 (click here).
This summer Drax will undertake maintenance on its CfD(2) biomass unit, including a high-pressure turbine upgrade to reduce maintenance costs and improve thermal efficiency, contributing to lower generation costs for Drax Power Station.
In March, Drax secured Capacity Market agreements for its hydro and pumped storage assets worth around £10 million for delivery October 2024-September 2025.
The limitations on BECCS are not technology but supply, with every gigatonne of CO2 stored per year requiring approximately 30-40 million hectares of BECCS feedstock, according to the Global CCS Institute. Nonetheless, BECCS should be seen as an essential complement to the required, wide-scale deployment of CCS to meet climate change targets, it concludes.