Red tape hitting UK offshore, RenewableUK claims

UK: Government bureaucracy is driving up the cost of offshore wind and affecting timings, according to two new reports by RenewableUK.

UK Round 2 project Gunfleet Sands

According to the Managing Regulatory and Consenting Costs for Offshore Wind study, the average cost of consenting between Round 1 and Round 2 rose by almost 15% per megawatt installed.

The report said the average cost of consenting each megawatt of Round 1 projects was £15,365 (EUR 19,580), compared with £17,669 (EUR 22,516) in the second round. It also raised concerns that consenting costs per turbine had also risen for Round 2 projects.

RenewableUK has released a second study claiming the time taken to make consenting decision between Round 1 and 2 had risen from 36 to 72 months.

RenewableUK said both studies flag concerns around the ability of the consenting bodies to respond as quickly as needed given financial pressures.

Speaking about the two reports, RenewableUK director of offshore Nick Medic said: "For [offshore wind] to fully develop as a sector, we understand that costs need to come down.

"The industry is working hard on this, but we need government to do its part and make certain that the planning system functions in an efficient and timely manner, ensuring that the important needs of guaranteeing environmental protection are coupled with an efficient process which keeps costs down for the consumer."