Offshore wind power could meet a quarter of the UK’s electricity demand
The United Kingdom’s windswept coastline makes it the ideal location for exploiting the vast quantities of energy available offshore. Winds blow stronger and more consistently out at sea, producing up to 25% more energy than on land.
Burbo Bank, off the north west coast, is one of several large offshore wind parks built since 2003 which have pushed the UK into the leading position among the countries of Northern Europe exploring this new frontier for pollution-free energy.
Its 25 large turbines, with a total installed capacity of 90 Megawatts, can produce enough electricity in a year to meet the annual consumption of 80,000 households.
The UK government projects that offshore wind power could be contributing up to 33 Gigawatts of installed generating capacity by 2020, enough to satisfy a quarter of the UK’s electricity demand. The Department of Energy and Climate Change estimates that this will require 5-7,000 more wind turbines, for which it has identified suitable locations.
Burbo Bank is owned and operated by Dong Energy, a Danish company making major investments in offshore wind farms around Europe. Dong is also a partner in the consortium planning to build the 1,000 MW London Array wind park in the Thames Estuary. The first turbines are scheduled to be operating in time for the 2012 London Olympics.
At the inauguration of Burbo Bank in 2007, Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks said that the UK had ”some of the best wind resources in Europe, if not the world. We have an opportunity to be a global leader in the offshore wind farm sector and the potential economic and environmental benefits are enormous. If we are to achieve our renewables aims we must get more offshore wind farms built.”