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The new Thanet wind farm produces 300 MW of electricity, making it the world's largest offshore wind farm.  (Source: Vattenfall AB)
Nation now has 5 GW of installed wind capacity, enough to provide 4 percent of its power needs

In the United Kingdom today, excitement was afoot as the world's largest wind power installation went online.  The 300 MW farm was constructed by Swedish alternative energy firm Vattenfall AB.  It is located on the North Sea, on the east face of the island, approximately 2 hours east of the capital city of London.

England's Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Chris Huhne comments, "The U.K. is going to be the fastest-growing market for renewable energy anywhere for the next couple of years.  We will urge the wind industry to install 10 times more capacity by 2020. To this end, we are currently talking to General Electric and companies such as Siemens and Mitsubishi will play a part."

The nation aims to get 15 percent of its power from alternative energy by 2020.  With the latest addition the country now gets 4 percent of its power from wind.  Wind is arguably England's greatest alternative energy resource; as it is at a northern latitude it doesn't get quite as much direct sunlight, but its sea-bordered location makes for steady winds.

The new farm, located near the city of Thanet, the farm increases Britain's offshore wind total to 1,341 MW.  With its 3,715 megawatts of onshore wind, the nation now has over 5 GW of total wind power capacity -- enough to power an estimated 2.7 million homes.

The project is estimated to cost £800M (roughly $1.253B USD) according to Top News UK, or £900M (roughly $1.409B USD) according to Bloomberg.

The installation covers 35 km2 and consists of 100 Vestas Wind Systems A/S V90/3000 wind turbines.  The V90 is an example of the growing class of "super-turbines" designed for offshore use.  It generates 3 MW of power at peak and its blades span 90 meters.

Deploying offshore wind power is logistically tougher, as it requires you to install turbines at sea that can withstand ocean storms, and additionally to install undersea transmission cables.  However, it has the potential to generate more electricity than onshore installations, due to the stronger wind currents -- which in turn may lead to lower cost per kWh than tradition onshore turbines.

As opposed to the onshore wind power industry, which is dominated by established players, the offshore wind power industry is just now taking off.  The UK is working to position itself at the center of that new industry.

And early indications are that those efforts are yielding success; a number of companies -- General Electric Co., Siemens AG and Clipper Windpower Plc -- recently announced plans to build offshore wind turbine factories in the UK.  RenewableUK Chief Executive Officer Maria McCaffery comments, "The onshore wind supply chain is already well established in Germany, Denmark and Spain. Nobody has an onshore wind supply chain, and we want that to be here. U.K. manufacturing protects us totally from exchange-rate fluctuations."

The UK is aiming for 13 to 14 GW of installed onshore wind power capacity by 2020, as well.  It recently approved 32.200 GW in projects, giving licenses to Centrica Plc, RWE AG and Statoil ASA.

The U.S. is currently preparing similar offshore wind projects, but has seen construction and development delayed from lawsuits from a variety of groups including citizens who claim offshore turbines mar their view and damage property values; Native Americans; and environmental activists, who claim the turbines disrupt offshore wildlife.

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RE: And one modern nuclear reactor can...
By AssBall on 9/23/2010 11:08:08 AM , Rating: 2
Again, you disregard the energy waste in transfer and maintenance of an offshore wind farm. What you get at the outlet is not the same as what you produce 10 miles out into the ocean on a "OMG ITS NOT WINDY TODAY" day. Your figures are maximum lossless production.

The cost of a nuclear plant is artificially inflated by legislation.

The cost of a wind farm is artificially reduced by legislation.

Wind energy is a fine idea, but don't go skewing the costs and efficiencies with hand picked information.

RE: And one modern nuclear reactor can...
By GreenEuropean on 9/23/10, Rating: -1
RE: And one modern nuclear reactor can...
By AssBall on 9/23/10, Rating: 0
RE: And one modern nuclear reactor can...
By GreenEuropean on 9/23/2010 12:24:40 PM , Rating: 1
The transmission lines into shore is quite cheap. So I dont see your point. We already got endless amount of powercables below the sea for country to country connections.

RE: And one modern nuclear reactor can...
By AssBall on 9/23/2010 12:37:29 PM , Rating: 4
The point is you live in a country that is SEVEN times smaller than my state, which is only the tenth largest in the US. When you have population density and tax rates like Denmark, you can afford to be as inefficient as you like.

RE: And one modern nuclear reactor can...
By GreenEuropean on 9/23/10, Rating: -1
RE: And one modern nuclear reactor can...
By AssBall on 9/23/2010 1:03:46 PM , Rating: 2
New Yorkers have the distinction of not having to pay 25% tax. This gives them the option to NOT have to pay for 1GBit and artificially inflated energy costs.

I think they even have a word for it... oh yeah... "Freedom".

RE: And one modern nuclear reactor can...
By DrApop on 9/23/10, Rating: 0
By AssBall on 9/23/2010 1:47:42 PM , Rating: 4
You get the same run around in Europe too, so call it 70%?

RE: And one modern nuclear reactor can...
By clovell on 9/24/2010 3:53:11 PM , Rating: 1
What? It's always windy 10 miles offshore. I realize you're making a point, but there's no need to get hyperbolic about it.

By clovell on 9/27/2010 12:31:16 PM , Rating: 2
Rated down by the nuclear cheerleaders for making a perfectly valid point - get lives, people.

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