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Critics Rebut Computer Modelling Exercise On Offshore Wind Costs

Press Release, Global Warming Policy Forum

Remember when Imperial College London and UK newspapers recently announced that “offshore wind power is now so cheap it could pay money back to consumers”?

The Global Warming Policy Forum is today publishing a critique of the new paper behind the headlines which claims that computer modelling of offshore wind subsidy auction bids around Europe provides sound evidence of falling capital costs.

The paper neglects much more reliable empirical data in the public domain and in audited accounts that suggests that offshore wind costs are still high and unlikely to fall.

The paper, published by Nature Energy, has been produced by analysts at Imperial College London’s Centre for Environmental Policy, jointly with institutions in Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany.

The authors of the GWPF critique, Professor Gordon Hughes, Dr Capell Aris, and Dr John Constable, were the authors of the GWPF’s ground-breaking study of the disconnection between actual offshore wind costs and the very low bid prices being made in subsidy auctions.

Professor Hughes and his co-authors write in their comment:

The topic of wind power costs and particularly offshore wind costs is a live and important area of serious concern. Jansen et al’s paper is a retrograde step both methodologically and in its conclusions, and government cannot take comfort from its optimistic assertions. On the contrary, government should note that if enthusiasts for the offshore wind industry can do no better than Jansen et al. (2020) then there is clearly a serious problem with the underlying cost trends of this sector.”

Dr Benny Peiser, GWPF director, said:

This paper from Imperial College London is yet another example of the way that elaborate computer modelling displaces empirical research based on hard data and misleads the public in thinking they will be paid back money on their energy bills.”

Professor Gordon Hughes, Dr Capell Aris, and Dr John Constable: Offshore Wind Costs and Auction Price Bids: A Comment