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Wind power hits 10GW as Grimsby plays its part in boosting Ørsted’s bottom line

GRIMSBY’S six offshore wind farms have played a key role in helping break a new British energy record.

Wind power hits 10GW as Grimsby plays its part in boosting Ørsted’s bottom line

For the first time this week, more than 10GW of electricity was generated by wind, with the town’s installed capacity now at 15 per cent of that. 

The new high came on Wednesday, analysis has shown, co-incidentally as trade body RenewableUK’s executive director Emma Pinchbeck addressed a Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy select committee, telling MPs she would “bet her house on renewables”.

Miss Pinchbeck was participating in the Cost of Energy Review, being conducted by Professor Dieter Helm.

Addressing the committee as strong winds sent statistics rocketing, she said: “An energy system led by renewables is the lowest cost option for the UK. I’d bet my house on renewables. A smart energy system can deliver consumers savings of £8bn a year between now and 2030.”

Questioned on how consumers can benefit from the rapid falls we have seen in the cost of renewables, Miss Pinchbeck said: “Competitive auctions for CfDs are the best way to lock in low-cost energy for consumers, with offshore wind delivering cost reductions unprecedented in any other sector.”

Miss Pinchbeck noted that while the review is focused on future, there are actions which could be taken now to reduce costs and provide certainty, including returning to onshore wind “that would deliver onshore wind at under £50 per megawatt hour -  cheaper than gas.” 

“It is extraordinary that onshore wind isn’t allowed to compete for CfDs,” she added, also calling for clarity on how Government will spend the £557 million of funding, to supply chains can gear up.

Miss Pinchbeck highlighted the Helm Review’s failure to recognise the fact that energy policy can contribute to wider economic, industrial and regional development, as has been witnessed in North East Lincolnshire as the first wind farms were built as the recession bit, safeguarding and adding demand for hotels, bars and restaurants as the contracting community descended. 

“New projects have brought investment in regions across the UK – with £18 billion more to come over the next five years,” Miss Pinchbeck said. “Those wider industrial benefits should be recognised. 90 per cent of this investment is being spent outside the south-east of England, in areas where it’s needed most to create jobs. More than 50 per cent of RenewableUK’s members are supply chain companies and we’re exporting worldwide.”

Taking to Twitter to celebrate the milestone, colleague Maf Smith, the RenewableUK deputy chief executive who hails from Barton, said: “10 gigawatt. That is a 10Ggigawow for sure. Wind power powering ahead. The UK just beat the national record for wind power production.”

It also represented a first time in 2018 where there had been zero coal generation, described as a “watershed moment” by commentators because of a generalism that the fossil fuel is needed the most when it is cold.  It took until April last year. 

Last week Ørsted - formerly Dong energy - announced it anticipates an £178.5 million increase in operating profit “primarily attributable to strong earnings from our offshore wind farms in operation in the last part of the year, including from stronger winds and faster ramp-up of generation from the new offshore wind farms Race Bank and Walney Extension”. 

Earnings from partnership agreements are better than expected too, due to good progress and lower costs on the construction contracts for both.

Based on preliminary and unaudited reporting, it expects a rise from DKK 21 billion £2.49billion to DKK 22.5 (£2.67 billion) for 2017. Race Bank’s construction has been led out of Grimsby, with the farm also the first to feature Hull-made blades from the Siemens plant. 

Ørsted's full results are anticipated on February 1. 

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