UK aims for 25% of electricity from offshore wind by 2020

The UK government recently issued licenses for a staggering amount of offshore wind capacity:

> While the Round 3 project to build 29 gigawatts (GW) by 2020 is a challenge equivalent to building eight Channel Tunnels in 10 years and requires a step-change in technology, it is achievable, Benj Sykes, Senior Technology Acceleration Manager, told reporters…

> It would require setting up every year about 500 turbines — which are taller than the 180-meter “Gherkin” building in London — by around 2013, compared with around 280 achieved last year, and accelerate the speed to about 1,000 by 2019.

Geoffrey Styles provides some helpful context:

> The 32,000 MW of wind turbines planned for installation in the waters around Britain over the next ten years or so would match the entire onshore wind capacity of the US, to date, while delivering perhaps a quarter more energy annually, because of their larger size and access to more reliable wind…

> When completed, the turbines in the nine offshore zones awarded last week would generate roughly the same amount of power annually as a dozen nuclear power plants, based on a 40% capacity factor, and considerably more when the wind is blowing strongly. That’s directly relevant, because Britain’s aging fleet of nuclear power plants is being phased out, and by the time the first of the new offshore wind farms is done, UK nuclear generating capacity could be less than half its current level of around 11,000 MW.

Although the United States has a more diverse set of renewable energy resources than the UK, offshore wind has a lot of potential on this side of the Atlantic. The actual number of megawatt-hours being produced by offshore wind here in the U.S. remains stubbornly stuck at zero, however, and the struggling Cape Wind project was recently hit by further regulatory delays.

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  1. Noel Hodson - January 20, 2010

    Thanks for the 20 January 2010 article on off-shore wind-power.
    From the UK, we are globally promoting FOODTUBES, a scalable, international, competitive and highly profitable, LIM driven, freight capsule-pipeline concept, to save 8% of CO2. Google FOODTUBES for details.
    It will be powered by electricity – and we intend it to be renewable clean green electricity. As you say, the UK has huge wind-power (and tidal) resources – as do other regions. Do you at Terrapass know the main USA, UK and EU power companies which will distribute and supply green electricity? We would like to talk with them. CONTACT The Foodtubes Project co-ordinator, email:
    PS – Like Germany, the UK is about to fix a feed-in tariff for small green generators to sell power to the national grid. It should be the same price as households pay to buy power-units. This will transform the pace of growth.

  2. Anonymous - January 21, 2010

    I’m waiting for America and the world to take advantage of the verticle wind turbines out there today that are of a residential or commercial size. If every home in America, particularly in areas of good steady winds had at least a 500 watt wind turbine mounted on their house in stead of some satellite dish, our need for electricity would plumment, “clean” coal could be green by being left in the ground. 500 watts could be the difference between keeping warm in the winter and cool in the summer. You can buy units of 500-2000 watts, a combined wind turbine and an array of solar panels could replace the oil furnace.