UK : The Empire where the wind never stops blowing

We saw during the Brussels negotiations, last week, David Cameron more uncompromising than never. He can do this because in front of a crisis, the United Kingdom is a better fighter than his European partners. British industry has a big capacity of resistance. The country has noticed real progress as far as its way to energetic transition is concerned. British government is actually playing the card of offshore wind power energy, and obviously it is winning. UK will become the first offshore wind power producer in Europe.

Advantages of Britain

_The first advantage for UK is its geographicall position: UK is an island. Seems to be stupid, but it is easier to install offshore wind farms in Britain than in Austria.

_The second and important as well: it has a decisive government which calls since 2001, foreign investors, to lead the project in British territorial waters. London has decided to dedicate £525 million to subsidies for offshore wind farms between 2011 and 2014, rising at the same time the proportion of renewable energy which has to be produced by an electricity company: from 9,7% in 2009 to 15 ,4% in 2016. Every Company must respect this percent or else it will have to contribution to the investment. The goal is to reduce its pollutant emissions about 80% by 2050.

_Third advantages: the national tradition of conquesting the seas. Installing offshore wind farms is a new challenge which brings Britain and sea together.


Balance sheet of offshore wind power

Currently, Britain has 1.53 GW of offshore wind power capacity spread over 14 projects — out of a total wind power capacity of 5.77 GW .

The nation has an additional 2.1 GW of offshore wind power capacity under construction, and a further 1.63 GW approved but not yet installed.

Britain added 1.2 GW of offshore wind power in 2012, and will hit 2.5 GW annually by 2016 — even with the project bottleneck in 2013-2014.

This level of growth means that the UK will remain on the top of the heal for offshore wind power over the next five years.

For example: the world’s largest wind farm London Array

It is being installed in the Thames (12 miles). It is always under construction. It must produce 25% of electricity needed in London.

London Array will be composed of 278 turbines. 175 are still under construction and will represent (diameter 107 m) a total nominal power of 630,000 kW.

103 turbines are approved and will be installed (diameter 107 ) for a total nominal power of 370,800 kW .


They are easy to see. Wind farm power is a good job creator. We can see that developing this energy field will create approximately 70000 jobs in UK within 10 years.

The United Kingdom will become the European leader in wind farms power; the country is going to take the place of Germany and Denmark. The only problem is that the country will have to use the German and Danish technology like Siemens, Juwi or Vestas turbines.

Another consequence is that it will attract foreign big energy firms, and investors, like Areva for example. 10 days ago, Areva’s president agreed with the prime minister of Scotland to build a factory of turbines, in 2015 on the Scottish coast. France guaranteed the creation of 750 jobs.

The last element and maybe the most important is the impact in energy savings. UK has grown his offshore production for more than 750 (MW) between 2010 & 2011. London Array for example gave alimentation in electricity to more than 470,000 homes, or two thirds of the homes in Kent. All this wind power is equivalent to the fossil energy that UK won’t need to import.

We said that the UK is an Empire on which the sun never sets, but we can now say that today it’s an Empire on which the wind will never stop blowing.

Par Matthieu Brisbare, le 12 décembre 2012

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