ONLY a few years ago, economists derided offshore wind as a ludicrously expensive way of cutting carbon emissions. They saw support for it by the previous government as a boondoggle to a technology whose main selling point was that Britain led the world in its use. On September 11th a stunning drop in the cost of offshore wind in a government auction blew holes in those convictions.
It suggests that an adolescent industry, increasingly centred around Hull and the east coast of Yorkshire, is coming of age. “We’re looking for North Sea wind as being to the UK economy for the next 50 years what oil and gas was for the last half century,” says Michael Grubb, a professor of international energy and climate-change policy at University College London.
That is a big claim.