Better supply chain needed to reduce cost of wind energy in BritainIf the UK wants to reduce the cost of offshore wind energy, it will need a better supply chain, recent research indicates.

A new report by the UK Energy Research Centre has found that a lack of manufacturing competition, planning and supply chain constraints and rising material prices had increased the capital costs of offshore farms to more than £3 million per megawatt, more than double what it was in 2005. Contributing to the higher costs is the fact that approximately 80 percent of the value of offshore wind farms comes from overseas, which leaves it particularly susceptible to the fluctuating price of the pound.

Although wind turbine manufacturers have been hindered by the relatively small demand for wind energy in Britain, Dr. Robert Gross of Imperial College London said that costs could fall by as much as 20 percent over the next 15 year if the UK decides to become more invested in the technology. However, he added that Britons should be guarded in their optimism.

"There's more of a general culture of collaboration with industry and working with the engineering sector that's been absent in the UK for the past two decades," Gross told The Engineer. "Their absolute levels of financing for R&D [research and development] are higher as well. These have grown in the UK under Labour but are still small under the scale of the challenge."

The UK's 3,067 wind turbines are currently producing about 5058.845 megawatts of energy and powering about 2,828,648 homes.
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