Oxford Professor Criticizes Tidal Lagoon Costs

Professor Dieter Helm from the University of Oxford has criticized the UK energy policy in a paper titled British energy policy – what happens next?, published by the Energy Futures Network. In the paper, Professor Helm suggests the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to refrain from subsidizing expensive projects such as tidal lagoons.

Furthermore, Helm said that DECC should implement fixed priced contracts instead of Contracts for Difference (CfDs).

“Forcing the renewables to bid against each other would wipe out the extremely expensive offshore wind. Coal to gas would probably beat nuclear, and the tidal lagoon would be literally for the birds in the Severn Estuary,” he explained.

RenewableUK’s Director of External Affaris, Jennifer Webber today commented on Professor Helm’s paper: “Professor Helm ignores the many benefits of renewables and exaggerates their associated costs. Wind energy alone generated 10% of the entire nation’s electricity needs in 2014, and costs 7 pence a day on household bills. A small price to pay for the switch from dirty fossil fuels to modern, clean sources of energy. He also ignores the significant cost reductions, which have taken place across all renewable technologies in recent years, an admirable achievement for such new industries. This has, in fact, been aided by the Government’s competitive auction process, something the Professor wants to scrap.”

“He seems to be in favour of maintaining the status quo; extending the life of old gas plants rather than embracing innovative projects like Swansea Bay tidal lagoon, which will generate clean electricity on a predictable basis for 120 years and attract millions of pounds in investment to the UK.”

Offshore WIND Staff; Image: twitter/Prof Dieter Helm CBE