Jorge Chapa

Thousands of Wind Farms to Power England

by , 12/12/07

wind, turbines, england, norsk, off shore, alternative energy, power, electricity

Still think wind power isn’t mainstream? Think again. The United Kingdom’s Energy Secretary John Hutton unveiled a set of proposals to encourage the uptake of offshore wind turbines in England. The proposals call for the offshore wind industry to provide up to 33 gigawatts of energy by 2020, enough to power every home in Britain!

The scheme would call for nearly 7,000 wind turbines, each of which could be powerful enough to provide electricity to 8,000 homes. To put it in perspective, all of Britain’s current power stations can output over 75 GW, meaning that it could be expected that wind could provide over half of the country’s energy needs. At the moment, Britain wishes to meet a goal of having wind provide over 8 GW by 2020, and it’s this target that the Energy Secretary wishes to raise.

This development is not without controversy; after all, having thousands of wind turbines in the ocean would be visible from the coast, and a full environmental impact assessment has yet to be made. However, the plan is certainly a welcome development in the push for eliminating the need for fossil fuels.

Hutton said: “The UK is now the number one location for investment in offshore wind in the world and next year we will overtake Denmark as the country with the most offshore wind capacity.”

+ Giant offshore wind farms to supply half of UK power @ Times Online

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10 Comments

  1. Mekhong Kurt March 4, 2008 at 5:04 am

    I personally agree that the wind turbines won’t be a blight (to me, not at all), and eventually will become just part of the seascape.

    Not everyone agrees, of course. I’m originally from Texas, where my Sister and I have a small ranch that adjoins our Mother’s small farm. Our land is only 237 acres, but just a week or so ago in a phone chat I told her I want to find out if we can interest a wind turbine company in the possibility of erecting a wind turbine farm on our land, which for the 20 years we’ve had it since we inherited it has produced a net of just about zero return, *maybe* just about enough to cover the annual property taxes. I mentioned a story I had read about a rancher further west who did that, and was not only making a bundle leasing his land, but who could still run livestock — and help his area (and himself) get cheaper electricity than was previously available.

    The catch? The wind turbines are about 20 storeys tall, and my Sister pointed out, rightly, that our Mom would throw a hissy fit. (“NIMBY!!!”) This can be mitigated, in our case, as our property is shaped, bascially, like an extra-fat regular pencil — long and relatively skinny. Both my Sister’s home and our Mother’s are at one end; there’s ample space to put enough wind turbines at the far end, about a mile away (with an interveninng hill that would block views of the lower parts).

    And by locating offshore in England, the view considerations are lessened. Further, maybe it’s time to adopt a new acronym: “MYBIOK” — “My Backyard Is Okay.”

    Mekhong Kurt,
    Bangkok, Thailand

  2. Nick Simpson December 15, 2007 at 6:43 am

    By the way, I’m really enjoying Jorge’s posts recently, this is just the sort of thing that interests me. Horses for courses obviously, with the site obviously having a wide range of subjects and interests, but this is the sort of thing that keeps me visiting.

    I don’t suppose any of the writers are interested in keeping us informed in terms of environmental politics at all? There’s the hugely important Bali talks happening as I write this, which will have a much greater impact on the future of our planet than anything else featured here, which would surely be of interest. Knowing what the media are like in the US an unbiased, international point of view on these sorts of subject might be hugely informative?

  3. Nick Simpson December 15, 2007 at 6:37 am

    Personally, I’m not bothered about the visual impact – I find these windmills to be beautiful, maybe in part because of the mental association I have between them and clean energy. Hey, when they were built, many people hated structures like the Victorian iron and steel bridges, and even the Eiffel Tower… As for migratory birds, I personally couldn’t care less. It sounds harsh, but we’re going to lose a great deal more wildlife if clean energy production on this scale isn’t adopted and very, very soon…

    Anyway Littleuldav, the weather’s not that bad over here, although I get what you’re saying! The sky is grey a reasonable amount of the time, but when the weather’s poor people don’t tend to go to the coast, so wouldn’t look out to sea then anyway. But as I say, these turbines will simply become part of the landscape (or seascape) and people will get used to them. I also agree with Dan, when you see these sharp, slim, elegantly engineered structures placed within ruggled, windswept landscapes I think they look beautiful. I do however agree with clustering them so that there are plenty of areas without them in view.

  4. Dan December 13, 2007 at 12:31 pm

    I personally think windturbines on the landscape look quite nice. I live in the Lakedistrict and think they can actually add something to the views at times, there’s a great looking set off the M6 north from here, look quite stunning as they rise up with the hills as the road bends round.

    Anyway, if they were made out of wood, with a little window half way up, a door on the bottom with Windy Miller walking out now and again…. I don’t think anybody would be complaining.

  5. litteuldav December 13, 2007 at 7:02 am

    For all of those concerned with the aesthetics and the view : nevermind.

    Never forget that they will be located in England.
    The weather is so bad there, that most of the times you have grey sky, if not heavy haze.
    Those wind turbines will be located miles from the coast, and in front of a grey sky, or even light haze, they won’t even be visible at all.

    No kidding, i live 200 km from there and i know what i mean. You have no idea of what it is not seeing the sun for several weeks …

    Perhaps we should instead pay attention to the many ships ( fishers and cargos) that will pass by, sometimes in bad weather. Coolision prevention should be looked carefully.

  6. Evan Hadkins December 12, 2007 at 9:17 pm

    Great news. Especially to those who are living in the backward countries who were slow to sign Kyoto (I live in Australia). This is very encouraging.

  7. Kat December 12, 2007 at 8:06 pm

    how visible would they be? like distant blips, or sizable distractions? would they span across a sizable portion of the view, or would they be clumped in one area to minimize visual invasiveness? they might actually be an interesting sight, as long as there’s plenty of traditional seascape left to admire.

  8. greg December 12, 2007 at 3:35 pm

    I think they are elegant and inspiring

  9. anna December 12, 2007 at 3:20 pm

    i think its a great idea but would be concerned for migratory birds. is this an issue in that area and is it being addressed?

  10. Joyce December 12, 2007 at 11:39 am

    As far as wind turbines go, I can appreciate the need for environmental impact studies, but I don’t understand why people think they are not aesthetically pleasing. What’s so wrong with the way they look?

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