Monday, December 10, 2007

Wind Farms to supply 50% of UK power

The UK is taking its "green leadership" position very seriously. I believe this is an excellent strategy both economically and politically. For labour it should help shore up the green vote, it takes the green card away from the liberals and the conservatives and it helps the UK's reputation abroad.

Economically, it will put UK firms and UK technology at the forefront of what can only be a booming economic sector. By taking a first mover advantage UK plc will be well positioned.

Whether this particular scheme makes economic sense is another question entirely. Could the investment be better made elsewhere? How to the costs compare to the alternatives (nuclear)? Id the technology up to it? Have the negative "eye sore" effects been correctly costed by environmental economists? Will the "NIMBY" protests be too great and create too much bad publicity for the government?

Giant offshore wind farms to supply half of UK power [Times Online]

Britain is to launch a huge expansion of offshore wind-power with plans for thousands of turbines in the North Sea, Irish Sea and around the coast of Scotland.

John Hutton, the energy secretary, will this week announce plans to build enough turbines to generate nearly half Britain’s current electricity consumption. He will open the whole of Britain’s continental shelf to development, apart from areas vital for shipping and fishing.

The scheme could see turbines so large that they would reach 850ft into the sky, nearly 100ft taller than Canary Wharf. Each would be capable of powering up to 8,000 homes.

Britain’s current range of coal, gas, nuclear and other power stations are capable of generating 75 gigawatts (GW) of electricity, but less than 0.5GW comes from wind. Planning consents have been granted for a further 3GW and the government had already made clear it wanted this raised to 8GW.


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