Renew On Line (UK) 26

Extracts from the May-June 2000 edition of Renew
These extracts only represent about 25% of it

   Welcome   Archives   Bulletin         


1. Local Renewables-Rural diversification starts

2. Solar Budget Boost

3. Net Loss

4. Green Power Going Cheap

5. Blyth 4MW Offshore Wind

6. CREA on the DTI renewables report

7. SRC Support

8. UK Policy on Climate Change Confirmed

9. International Clean Energy Initiative

10. Global Warming is Real

11. Climate Change: COP-6 doubts

12. Solar Booms - but not in the UK

13. Levy favours Gas

14. Nuclear Won't Go Away

5. Blyth 4MW Offshore Wind

Two of the world's most powerful wind turbines are to be built off the Northumberland coast by a consortium comprising Border Wind, Powergen Renewables, Nuon UK and Shell Renewables for the UK's first offshore wind project. Blyth Offshore wind farm will be built during the middle of this year.

The turbines will be manufactured by the leading Danish wind energy company Vestas, and installed by the large UK construction company AMEC. Contracts are expected to be awarded shortly. The turbines will be the largest erected offshore in the world, and at 2 Megawatts each among the most powerful anywhere. The two wind turbines will be erected 1km off the coast of Blyth, Northumberland, adjacent to the existing Blyth Harbour wind farm. The water depth at the site is in the range 5 to 11m and is subjected to the full forces of the North Sea making the site the most demanding so far developed offshore. Electricity generated from this project will be enough to supply the needs of over 3000 average households. The first electricity is expected to be generated in August, 2000.

Border Wind have pointed out that ‘the UK is the windiest country in Europe and has enough offshore wind resource to theoretically supply 3 times the UK's current electricity requirements. UK companies have the potential to be fully involved in the manufacturing and installation of offshore wind farms. In a recent consultation document published by the DTI, a potential for installing over 6 billion of projects was suggested’.

The 4 million Blythe project will receive financial support from the European Commission Thermie Programme. It was also given support under the Non Fossil Fuel Obligation, although the status of that award is now unclear, given the replacement of the NFFO by the new Renewables Order, as outlined in the DTI recent report on its conclusions to the renewables consultation. Presumably the contract will have to be renegotiated. The project will be monitored and evaluated, as a part of the DTI's Wind Energy Programme.

What next?

There had been an expectation that further rounds of the NFFO would support a series of offshore wind projects. Indeed, when he was Energy Minister, John Battle commented that he saw NFFO support as laying ‘the foundation for future success by establishing offshore wind as a dependable and environmentally sound technology.’

However, with the NFFO now abandoned, and no support targeted specifically to offshore wind, the prospects for the subsequent development of the UK’s huge off shore wind potential look a little grim. As the developers of the Northumbrian project put it, their windfarm could be "the first and last" unless the Governments policy changed. Greenpeace commented that ‘the irony is that it will be built with NFFO money arranged and approved by the last Conservative Government, which had no commitment to offshore wind.’ It added that, by way of contrast, the Dutch Cabinet had decided that ‘in addition to having the first 100 offshore wind turbines installed offshore by next year it would aim to have the world's largest offshore wind farm, over 1000MW, in place within three years’.

Powergen Renewables were at one time also planning to build a much larger 70MW offshore windfarm at Scroby Sands, half a mile off the coast near Great Yarmouth, but with the NFFO now gone, that is off the agenda. They are however still looking at a site in Dublin Bay- for a 200MW windfarm. The Irish government still has an NFFO-styled levy scheme in operation.

For details of the Blyth wind project contact Bill Grainger Border Wind Limited, Haugh Lane Industrial Estate, Hexham NE46 3PU Tel 01434 601224 Fax 01434 60120 email: web

Wave Power also hit by DTI Policy

Wave energy enthusiasts were also perturbed at the results of the DTI consultation. David Ross noted ‘it draws back from the boost it gave to wavepower just under a year ago, by relegating it to the longer term (after 2010)’. Certainly theres no indication of any extra support being provided in the new DTI report.

Three wave projects were supported by the Scottish Renewable order, but, as with projects supported under the NFFO, the status of this support now is unclear - transitional arrangements to transfer them to the new Renewables (Scotland) Order will presumably have to be developed. But beyond that, not much seems to be expected of wave energy for the time being.

The lack of support for tidal stream technologies is even more noticeable- they aren’t even mentioned in the DTI’s ranking of technological options! See our Feature on the DTI report and reactions to it.

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