Co. Antrim Northern Ireland. Image: Ballygally View Images Shutterstock

To stem the current climate crisis, it is essential to invest in the production of renewable energy. Part of this investment no longer only provides social and ecological benefit, but also economic benefit for various European governments and their citizens.

As they explain in Energy of nature, the research focused on offshore wind energy auctions conducted by the governments of five European countries.

Wind power generation in Germany and the Netherlands is on the verge of needing no subsidies, allowing them to be even more competitive than fossil fuel production, which is still heavily subsidized.

However, due to how subsidies work in the UK, the study suggests that wind power generation here will soon generate ‘negative subsidies’, with new wind farm projects returning money to the government, which will give it to the citizens to pay. cheaper electricity bills.

Offshore wind will soon be so cheap to produce that it will wipe out fossil fuel power plants and could be the cheapest form of energy for the UK. Energy subsidies have been used to increase energy bills, but in a few years, cheap renewables will be cut for the first time. It is an incredible development.

Dr. Malte Jansen, Center for Environmental Policy at Imperial College.

In the UK, companies wishing to build a wind farm must bid for the amount of energy to be sold to the government. The winning company concludes a “contract for the difference”. If the price the company sets is in fact higher than the cost of the electricity it produces, the government will cover what consumers do not in the form of subsidies.

However, it looks like contracts awarded in September 2019 for £ 40 per megawatt hour will end up being below wholesale price, meaning the company will return the money to the UK government so it can sell its electricity. This price was already one-third lower than the cost established in the 2017 auction and two-thirds lower than in 2015.

These astonishing advances have been made possible by new technologies, economies of scale and efficient supply chains around the North Sea, but also thanks to a decade of concerted policies aimed at reducing the risk of investing in offshore wind farm. huge, multibillion-pound projects that are much cheaper.

Dr Iain Staffell, Imperial College.

These new wind farms lay the groundwork for the rapid expansion needed to meet the government’s goal of producing 30% of the UK’s energy needs from offshore wind by 2030. Offshore wind will help help the UK, and the world more broadly, to achieve net zero carbon emissions, with the added benefit of lowering consumers’ energy bills.