Record year for European offshore wind, UK leads the sector

  • UK has half of newly installed European offshore wind farms in first half of 2010
  • European total approaches 2.5 gigawatts, a threefold increase since 2006

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Renewable UK, the trade association for wind and marine energy - Britain’s fastest growing green energy sectors – welcomed today’s announcement from the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) that European offshore wind capacity in 2010 has grown faster than in the same period in 2009. RenewableUK has also drawn attention to the fact that 50% of new wind farms installed are in UK waters.

Peter Madigan, Head of Offshore Renewables at RenewableUK, commented: “Offshore wind build-out is definitely picking up steam across Europe. It is an emphatic endorsement of wind energy as a technology, as countries such as Germany and Denmark, which already have significant onshore wind installations are now pursuing ambitious offshore plans.”

During the first half of 2010, the UK hit 1GW of installed offshore wind capacity accounting for around 40% of pan-European installed capacity. It also has a total development pipeline of 49GW, with a potential do deliver 150 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity per annum, out of the UK’s total net consumption of around 315 TWh. The European installed total stands at 2,396 installed megawatts (MW), with another 4,071MW in construction and with planning consent in UK alone.

“Offshore wind can deliver not just electricity, but jobs and business benefits to the UK. Earlier this year we have seen some of the world’s best known companies commit to building offshore wind turbines in the UK. This is a once in a generation opportunity and the right time for Government to support the nascent UK offshore sector with well timed investment in ports and infrastructure,” said Madigan.

The problem is that the wind power industry, including RenewableUK, its professional body, is just that, another huge industry, and it not understanding, in the same way as the governments don't, the real need as to wind power, namely the notion of “every building a power station” and the need to change current and voltage.

The current alternating current cannot be stored and thus, when the wind does not blow enough and the sun does not shine renewable energy is at a standstill and what then. What then is an especially important question if all our power is made up of renewable power, of wind, sun, and water, though we should and must consider also using biogas plants. For then there will be no electricity at that time of no wind and no sun and we are up the creek without a paddle.

The UK wind industry talks in MW and GW and in high voltages and of Britain being able to become a net exporter of wind energy but that is doing very little for our own energy security for we would then also, at times, have to be importer of energy.

With the proper kind of renewable electricity, however, generated by micro-power stations all over the country, on every building, by use of wind and sun, with the addition of methane gas powered ones in many location, using a low voltage DC system we could be powering most of our need without having to think of needing to import.

But, then again, that would make the individual independent from the power companies and that is not something that they and government, it would seem, could countenance.

It is up to the people to lead the green power revolution and we must start this the day before yesterday.

© 2010