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Wind energy boost as cost is slashed to a record low

Power: Wind farm off Essex coast PICTURE: REUTERS

OFFSHORE wind power costs have tumbled to a record low and sparked fresh calls for ministers to ‘scale up’ investment in renewable energy projects.

Prices for new wind farms are the lowest ever following the latest auction for contracts awarded to developers.

Subsidies have fallen 50 per cent since the last round in 2015 to £57.50 per megawatt hour for projects delivered in 2022/23. Under the contracts, companies bid for a ‘strike’ price they will be paid for electricity generated. Those who submit the lowest bid secure the deal.

It means the price of offshore wind has now dropped well below that of nuclear — the new Hinkley Point C power plant secured subsidies of £92.50 per MWh.

Energy minister Richard Harrington said: ‘The offshore wind sector will invest £17.5billion in the UK up to 2021 and thousands of new jobs will be created by the projects announced today.’ Lawrence Slade, chief executive of Energy UK, said the results provided ‘further evidence of how the cost of clean energy is continuing to fall’.

Caroline Lucas, co-leader of the Green Party, said the price drop should be the ‘nail in the coffin’ for new nuclear and urged the government to commit to offshore wind technology so that it becomes the ‘backbone of British energy’.

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