UK passes 1,000 wind turbine mark

Jan 28, 2003 01:00 AM

The UK wind power industry has reached a significant milestone with the commissioning of the country's 1,000th wind turbine at the Moel Maelogen wind farm in North Wales. Experts predict that within two years the UK will have doubled this total.
Nick Goodall, CEO of the British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) said, "It took us 11 years to get to 1000 turbines, but we're now predicting that the 2000th turbine is likely to be commissioned within two years. The next 450 onshore turbines already have planning permission, as do the first 90 offshore turbines."

The government requires British electricity suppliers to buy at least 10 % of their power from renewable energy producers by 2010 -- compared with about 3 % currently. The bulk of the increase is expected to come from wind power -- much of it situated offshore; and, from biomass, the generation of electricity from burning organic material.
Design advances mean that the latest turbines being tested are ten times more powerful than the first commercial wind turbines installed in the UK in 1991 which produced only a modest 400 kW each, said Mr Goodall. The planned offshore windfarm at Rhyl Flats, five miles from the north Wales coast will comprise up to 30 turbines, each 150 metres high, producing a total of 100 MW -- enough to power up to 50 000 homes.

The project to be undertaken by Innogy, one of Britain's biggest electricity companies won government consent at the end of last year. Development of onshore wind farms has often been held up by opposition from environmentalists and local residents objecting to their visual impact on the countryside.
The wind farm at Moel Maelogen, however, was started by three struggling hill farmers in 1998 who believed that the extra income from selling electricity would revitalise their ailing businesses. Rheinallt Williams, one of the developers said: "Wind power will give us a steady income."

The UK's total wind generation capacity, following the North Wales development comprises 1,003 turbines producing 555.8 MW of clean power -- enough to meet annual electricity needs of just under 400,000 homes, said the BWEA.
More than 10 mm homes worldwide are powered by wind according to a joint US, European and Indian report published last year. Europe, which accounts for about 70 % of all wind farm output the biggest regional market. Britain however lags well behind countries such as Germany which has 14,000 turbines, Denmark and Spain.

Source: PennWell Corporation
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