The U.K. government estimated that the offshore wind industry may contribute more than 35 billion pounds ($57 billion) to the economy by 2050 if the cost of the technology is cut quickly enough.
The industry must cut costs 25 percent by 2020 and pare the estimated 3.1 million pounds per megawatt needed to pay for wind turbines installed offshore, according to a report published by the Department of Energy and Climate Change in London today.
Capturing 5 percent to 10 percent of the global market would bring investments and business to the U.K. that contribute to gross domestic product, the department said in the Offshore Wind Power report.
The U.K. plans to install 18 gigawatts of turbines at sea by 2020, up from about 2 gigawatts now. It’s aiming to obtain 15 percent of its energy from renewable sources and replace aging power plants.
The government awarded 1.2 million pounds to British company David Brown Gear Systems Ltd. to develop a gearbox for a 7-megawatt offshore turbine made by Samsung Heavy Industries Co. as part of efforts to expand the industry to reduce costs.
Government intervention as well as private money is needed to overcome hurdles including lack of test facilities and insufficient payback on early-stage research and development, the report said.