I have been awarded the University of Strathclyde's EPSRC Doctoral Prize to develop my research as a post-doctoral researcher following the completion of my PhD. I will be furthering my wind and wind power forecasting work by examining the decision making processes required to operate wind power plant and trade wind energy in a probabilistic framework. This is very exciting, but I have to finish writing my thesis first!
The UK Department for Energy and Climate Change has published results of the first round of CfD allocations. Under the scheme low-carbon projects are receive a subsidy equal to the difference the pre-determined strike price and a reference price that representative of the market value of electricity. There is nothing to say that the generators will get the reference price for the electricity that they produce, so CfDs don't offer a 'guaranteed' price for low-carbon electricity. Two large offshore wind farms with a combined capacity of 1162MW have been allocated a strike price of just less than £120/MWh, and 748.55MW of onshore wind capacity has been allocated CfD for between £79.23/MWh and £82.50/MWh. The strike prices allocated are guaranteed for 15 years of operation.
Source: Planning Our Electric Future: a White Paper for Secure, Affordable and Low-Carbon Electricity DECC, July 2011, reproduced under the Open Government Licence.
In a press release this morning, RenewableUK Chief Executive Maria McCaffery highlighted the competitive prices but stressed that there is still much work to be done:
"The highly competitive prices achieved during this Auction, highlight the fact that the industry has been working hard to bring costs down, both onshore and offshore. The prices achieved by the onshore industry show what utter folly it would be to choke off this low cost form of low carbon power and the results also demonstrate that the offshore industry, provided the conditions are maintained, is well on the path to achieving its stated aim of £100/MWh by 2020.
Only 5 solar projects were successful in this round of CfD auctioning, totalling less than 72MW. Under the scheme onshore wind and solar must compete for the same pot of money allocated for 'established' technologies. The news that onshore wind and solar will receive a lower strike price than nuclear, which was allocated a strike price of £92.50/MWh in 2013 for EDF's new power station, dropping to £89.50/MWh if a second nuclear plant is also built.
The annual Futurewind seminar provides a stage for wind CDT students to present their work to guests from both academia and industry. This year the seminar was opened by Ignacio Marti (ORE Catapult and IEA Wind), a fellow forecaster. Despite a slowdown in investment in wind over the last couple of years, Ignacio gave an optimistic presentation highlighting the success of countries such as Spain, Denmark and Germany. He highlighted success of research efforts, for example how in the 90s 20% penetration was thought to be the maximum at which a power system could safely operate, and how now Spain and Denmark safely operate with over 70% instantaneous penetration.
Following presentations form PhD students, a panel made up of academics and industry representatives discussed the wind industry's prospects following the general election this May. The consensus was that prolonged uncertainty is holding up investment in renewables while other technologies are being pushed. When asked about the possibility of a referendum on membership of the EU, the importance of European targets and initiatives in driving the industry in the UK was highlighted.
The day was closed with the award of the poster prize to Alice Malvaldi (another forecaster!), and remarks from Prof David Infield, manager of the wind CDT.
Today I have started to build this website where I hope to communicate my research (and other interesting things) and share datasets and code I have used to enable others to replicate my work and develop their own. I'm on a steep learning curve so please bear with me while I get everything up and running!