Wind power in the United Kingdom

Wind power in the United Kingdom

Wind power in the United Kingdom passed the milestone of 2 GW installed capacity on 9 February 2007 with the opening of the Braes O'Doune wind farm, near Stirling. [ BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | UK wind power reaches milestone ] ] The UK became the 7th country in the world to reach this capacity. The world leader in wind power is Germany with 20.6 GW installed.

Currently, approximately 1.5% of UK electricity is generated by wind power (with a total of around 4.5% of UK electricity coming from all renewable sources [ [ BWEA News - BWEA response to John Hutton's speech ] ] ). This is expected to rise dramatically in coming years, as a result of UK Energy Policy strongly supporting new renewable energy generating capacity. In the short to medium term, the bulk of this new capacity is expected to be provided by onshore and offshore wind power.

Plans for a massive expansion of a wind energy programme in the UK are to be unveiled by the Government. They will include the building of 7000 wind turbines. [ [ UK to expand wind energy programme - Telegraph ] ] .

Through the mechanism of Renewables Obligation Certificates, British electricity suppliers are now required by law to provide a proportion of their sales from renewable sources such as wind power or pay a penalty fee. The ROCs are the principal form of support for UK wind power, providing around half of the revenue from wind generation [ [ Wind power subsidy in the UK by Dr John Etherington ] ] . Wind energy is also exempt from the climate change levy which is paid by fossil-fuel and nuclear generators.

Governments targets anticipate a capacity utilisation factor (CF) of 30%, implying that 2GW of installed capacity will provide an average of 600MW to the national grid. A study by the Renewable Energy Foundation found that in practice only a few Scottish wind farms achieved this level, while turbines in lowland England were much less efficient, some operating at less than 10% of capacity [ [ Wind farms 'are failing to generate the predicted amount of electricity' - Telegraph ] ] . The foundation argued that too much subsidy had encouraged wind development on poor sites. Offshore Wind farms however generally have a higher capacity rating for which the 30% figure can be considered a more conservative estimate.

Offshore wind farms

The UK has been estimated to have over a third of Europe's total offshore wind resource, which is equivalent to three times the electricity needs of the nation at current rates of electricity consumption.

The first developments in UK offshore wind power came about through the now discontinued Non-Fossil Fuel Obligation (NFFO), leading to two wind farms, Blyth Offshore and Gunfleet sands. [ [ BWEA - Offshore Wind Introduction ] ] The NFFO was introduced as part of the Electricity Act 1989 and obliged UK electricity supply companies to secure specified amounts of electricity from non-fossil sources, [ [] Dead link|date=March 2008] which provided the initial spur for the commercial development of renewable energy in the UK.

The UK will require 7,500 offshore turbines by 2020 to meet EU targets.Cite web
title=Britain will need 12,500 wind farms to satisfy EU targets
publisher=The Independent

Round 1

In 1998 the British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) began discussions with the government to draw up formal procedures for negotiating with the Crown Estate, the owner of almost all the UK coastline out to distance of convert|12|nmi|km|1. The result was a set of guidelines published in 1999, and a huge increase in the number of applications submitted. Eighteen of the applications were granted permission to proceed in April 2001, in what has become known as round one of UK offshore wind development.

The first of the round one projects completed, and the first large scale offshore wind farm in the UK, North Hoyle, was commissioned in December 2003. The second, Scroby Sands, was completed one year later in December 2004, followed by the 90 MW Kentish Flats in 2005. The fourth, Barrow Offshore, with 30 turbines, finished construction in July 2006. Seven of the remaining projects have received consent from the planning authorities, while the remaining four are still awaiting consent, including the Shell Flat site off the coast of Lancashire.

Round 2

Lessons learnt from round one, particularly the difficulty in getting planning consent for offshore wind farms, together with the increasing pressure to reduce CO2 emissions, prompted the department of trade and industry (DTI) to develop a strategic framework for the offshore wind industry. The result, known as Round 2, was announced in December 2003 with 15 projects with a combined capacity of 7.2 GW. By far the largest of these are the 1 GW London Array and the 1.2 GW Triton Knoll. [ [ BWEA - Round 2 map ] ]

List of built and proposed offshore wind farms

Onshore wind farms

The first windfarms in the UK were built onshore, and they currently generate more power than the offshore farms. A March 2006 report by the British Wind Energy Association forecast that onshore windfarms will be able to supply 6,000 MW peak, or on average nearly 5% of the national electricity requirement, by 2010. [ [ BWEA News - Onshore wind powering ahead - new research from BWEA ] ] Despite this potential, gaining planning permission for onshore wind farms is proving difficult, with many schemes stalled in the planning system, and a high rate of refusal. [ [ BWEA News - Decision makers must heed Stern warning on climate change ] ]

In the year to 31 March 2005, onshore wind farms, according to Ofgem, produced 1,734 GW·h (an average of 198 MW) but this is expected to rise to 2,500 GW·h (an average of 285 MW) in the following year, so there is considerable scope for further growth (16,600 MW peak capacity had been installed in Germany by 2004. [ [ Energy - New and Renewable Energies - Wind Energy ] ]

According to DTI figures onshore wind farms in the UK generated 769 GW·h in 2005, while offshore farms generated 204 GW·h. [] This compares to a total electricity consumption of 407,265 GW·h for the same year, meaning that the combined on and offshore contribution to UK electricity generation was less than 0.25%. In 2007 the planning permission problem was exacerbated by a shortage of spare parts for certain models of generator, which put some turbines out of action for over six months, triggering clauses in planning consents requiring removal of the non-functional turbines. [Robinson, Sarah [ Firm told to repair turbine] , Whitehaven News (2008-03-27) accessed 2008-03-28]

List of built and proposed onshore wind farms

ee also

*British Wind Energy Association
*Baywind Energy Co-operative
*Good Energy
*Friends of the Earth
*Renewable energy in Scotland
*Energy use and conservation in the United Kingdom
*Energy policy of the United Kingdom
*Green electricity in the United Kingdom
*Renewable energy in the European Union
*Wind power
*Wind power in Scotland, List of power stations in Scotland#Wind power
*Wind turbines (UK domestic)
* [ npower UK]


External links

* [ COWRIE] Collaborative offshore wind research into the environment
* [ UK wind farm performance 2005]
* [ The Renewable Energy Centre] Wind Power in the UK.
* [ The Sustainable Energy Alliance] UK renewable energy supporters organisation
* [ A Sea Change: The Wind Farm Revolution]
* [ UK Offshore Wind: Moving Up a Gear]
* [ The Crown Estate Invests in 25 GW of Offshore Wind Power]
* [ UK plans big wind power expansion]
* [ British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) Briefing Sheets]

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