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Extracts from NATTA's journal
Renew, Issue 172 Mar/Apr2008
   Welcome   Archives   Bulletin         


1. Big UK wind push

2. Zero Carbon Buildings

3. Nuclear Decision

4. Energy Policy developments

5. Tory Green Energy Promises

6. Brown on Energy...and Climate

7. Biofuels and biomass get going

8. EU News: REFIT spreads

9. Global News: Climate High, Bali Low

10. World Round up: Oz, NZ, Canada try

11. Nuclear news: US and UK plans

1. Big UK wind push

Offshore Wind is powering ahead. So far, under Rounds 1 and 2 of the offshore wind programme, nearly 400 MW has been installed (see report later). In addition planning consents have been granted for a further 3GW and the government had made clear it wanted this raised to 8GW. And now under Round 3, it wants to see further expansion. Last year John Hutton, the energy secretary, announced plans to open the whole of Britain’s continental shelf to offshore wind farm development, apart from areas vital for shipping and fishing, subject to the outcome of a Strategic Environmental Assessment. They are aiming at 25GW more, giving a total of 33GW by 2020.

33GW is almost half of current total UK generating capacity, although given the lower load factors, it would only be about 25% of UK’s average electricity requirements. Hutton said ‘if we could manage to achieve this, by 2020 enough electricity could be generated off our shores to power the equivalent of all of the UK’s homes’. If that really happened then of course there would be less for microgeneration to do (see below) except supply heat!

The BWEA thought it was a bit ambitious, 20GW was more realistic, although Godfrey Boyle did propose something along similar lines (see Renew 170). But the key issues are funding (no mention of more from Hutton) and equipment- the wind boom globally has overwhelmed the capacity of the wind plant manufacturers and there are long delays. However Hutton was optimistic: ‘The UK is now the number one location for investment in offshore wind in the world and next year (i.e. now) we will overtake Denmark as the country with the most offshore wind capacity.’ Certainly it’s looking better. And ideas for very large machines are emerging: see below.

Offshore wind- UK a leader

With a spate of new offshore wind farm consents having been announced, including the Walney project off Cumbria, with around 300 megawatts of capacity planned, and the huge 1000MW London Array (see Renew 171), Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks seemed to feel able to go on the offensive: ‘Our belief in renewables has been questioned recently by some but actions do speak louder than words. We are delivering on our promises to get projects such as Walney and the London Array through the system. The Energy Bill will allow us to increase the amount of backing schemes like this get from the Renewables Obligation. People should recognise that the UK, along with Denmark, is leading the world in the development of offshore wind power.’

At present the UK has nearly 400MW of offshore wind capacity operating. The most recent actual start up was Dong Energy’s 90 MW 25 turbine Burbo Bank wind farm 4 miles off Liverpool. And soon there should be more to come, on the way to 33GW total. Not bad!

* In addition to Denmark, Germany is also pushing offshore wind, and as Windpower Monthly noted last November, ‘with the possible exception of Britain, nowhere is more effort and money being poured into preparing the way for massive development of offshore wind plant, from permitting huge projects and getting cabling sorted out, to designing and building a generation of multi-megawatt turbines purpose-built for operation at sea’. However, tragically, it has taken ‘six long years for the industry to get even this far’ which is odd since ‘the first of 19 projects granted building permits to date- representing a combined capacity in excess of 6 GW- received its go-ahead back in 2001’. For once the UK seems to be getting something almost right- although we too have a large backlog of projects awaiting approval- and finance! Windpower Monthly:

9MW Aerogenerator

Windpower Ltd, has developed a novel V-shaped vertical axis wind turbine design, the Aerogenerator with support from Grimshaw Architects. A 6kW scaled prototype is being tested at NaREC in Blyth. The artists impression above illustrates what it could look like full scale- a giant 9MW offshore device. Vertical axis turbines like this can cope with higher wind speeds and are more robust, with the generator mounted at the base rather than at the top of a tower- it’s all blades!

There are certainly now some very large standard horizontal -axis turbines, like GE’s 5MW machine, and Enercon’s new 6MW E126, destined for offshore use, but currently on test on-land in Germany. Next is Clipper’s 7.5MW ‘Britannia’ project, to be developed at NaREC (see Renew 171).

* ETI, the UK's new Energy Technologies Institute, and the Carbon Trust have launched a £40m initiative to cut the costs of offshore wind power and accelerate its deployment around the UK.

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