By Daniel Hunter

Energy regulator Ofgem and the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) have today (Thursday) published a report showing how more co-ordination in the development of offshore links and infrastructure can be achieved.

In tandem, Ofgem has launched a consultation on potential changes to the regulatory regime for offshore transmission assets to take some of this work forward.

The Government’s Renewable Energy Roadmap suggests that by 2020, between 11 and 18GW of wind farm capacity could be built off Britain’s coast, compared to 1.6GW now. Future wind farms will be substantially larger and further offshore than existing projects.

Instead of building individual connections for each development, they could be interlinked to lower the overall construction and operating costs. This would mean the offshore network could grow incrementally and efficiently.

This coordinated approach could reduce the cost of offshore connections by 8-15% (£0.5-3.5 billion — see notes to editors point 4). This would help meet the Government’s target of reducing the cost of offshore wind to £100 per mega watt hour (MWh) by 2020. It could also pave the way for an offshore network in the North Sea linking wind farms off Britain’s coast to other European countries.

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