Sorry for the double post but spent the last hour just looking at some things on my CV and checking things out to see how things have progressed to get an idea if red tape is a real issue in the UK.
Ready for some really boring and indepth crap about offshore wind?
If not you might want to skip this post.
For those who don't know i do a lot of work in the offshore renewables industry and have previously worked a lot selling my soul in the Norwegian and UK oil industries, so I thought it would be interesting to see how projects I've worked on over the years in various countries have progressed.
Quite an early job of mine was the 2010 survey for the UK's Dogger Bank wind farm which when finished should be the worlds largest ever offshore windfarm (hooray for us) However to make the site more managable it was broken down into different Tranches, Tranche A was the first to be surveyed and will be the first to be built.
Looking it up the first turbines will currently begin to be installed in the A Tranche in 2023.
So from survey to installation thats a quite surprising 13 year gap.
Taking a look at the world leaders in offshore wind Denmark.
I did the survey for a Danish Wind Farm on the west coast in late 2012 and early 2013
That entire windfarm was fully finished and commisioned in 2019
So they went from survey to fully installed and operating in at most 7 years.
In 2016 i also did a survey for the Kriegers Flak Windfarm on the west coast of Denmark.
That windfarm became operational by the end of 2021.
A ridiculously short 5 years from survey to operation.
Now I'm not partial to all the tiny things and bit of red tape that go on behind the scenes and i dont have a huge sample size. But it seems to me when a wind farm in the UK takes more than twice the time to even get to the building stage in the UK as it does in Denmark to get finished and operational theres certainly something going on that could be improved.
Each countries laws and rules are different for sure. (Working on offshore windfarm projects in Denmark for example has the nice bonus that I don't have to pay tax on those earnings thanks to Incenstives set up by the Danish government
And I know that Dogger Bank had to contend with the extra issues of Iron Age archeological finds (The Dogger Bank was above water during the last mini ice age and connected the UK to the continent) but it seems to me there is certainly some red tape in the way somewhere.
But it has been that way for many many years and working in the energy industry as much as i do its hard not to feel that as a country we have mismanaged our energy industry for decades. Denmark took the lead in Offshore wind early and prioritised it (Theres a reason Danish firm Vestas is the world leader in turbine manafacturing). They now sometimes produce more windpower than the entire country needs and sell the rest off to Europe.
You could say the same about Norway and its Oil Reserves. Statoil (now Equinor) is the state run oil company that runs almost all Norways oil rigs and pipelines. What did Norway do with all that oil money? Well they created the “Oil Fund” which was set up to be a sort of national “piggybank” for use in bad times and future generations. This is one of the main reasons Norway is so well off and has such a high standard of living. (despite the fact a pint costs like £12 these days) , What we did was hawk all our oil reserves off to private companies like Shell and BP.
This all happened under a number of different governments so I'm not making it a wholly political discussion in favour of either Red or Blue but In my opinion at least part of our current energy crisis is down to years of mismanagement and red tape.