Britain seeks to build enough wind
turbines to power all UK homes by 2020
Dec 10, 2007 - The Associated Press
Britain unveiled plans Monday to generate enough
electricity through offshore wind farms to power every
home in the country by 2020, increasing production
more than 60-fold and changing the look of the country's
Britain's business secretary John Hutton said Monday
the government planned to reach the target through
a fourfold increase in the amount of space off Britain's
coast allocated for wind farms.
The move would change Britain's coasts, Hutton acknowledged,
but said the need for energy self-sufficiency left
the country no choice. He said the plans would depend
on environmental impact studies.
"But if we could manage to achieve this, by 2020
enough electricity could be generated off our shores
to power the equivalent of all of the U.K.'s homes,"
Hutton said in a statement.
The British Wind Energy Association, a trade body
which represents the country's wind and marine energy
industries, welcomed plans for more offshore wind
farm sites, but it said it would be difficult to raise
Britain's wind power production from half a gigawatt
currently to 33 gigawatts by 2020 - the equivalent
of the energy currently consumed by every British
Eight gigawatts' worth of wind generation projects
are already planned, but the group said the limited
supply of turbines meant the amount of wind energy
produced by 2020 would likely be closer to 20 gigawatts.
"We'd really be struggling from a 'Where can we get
the turbines?'" point of view, the association's economics
director Gordon Edge said.
Environmental campaigners and opposition lawmakers
welcomed the plan, but some noted that wind generated
power is expensive. Wind power-generated electricity
is currently costlier to generate than its coal- or
Although Britain's wind-swept coasts and shallow
waters are ideal for offshore turbines, wind generated
power accounts for less than 2 percent of its energy
generation. However, massive new offshore wind farms,
such as the 1 gigawatt London project planned for
the Thames estuary in the country's southeast, are
due to go online by 2014. According to the BWEA, the
country is on track to overtake Denmark as the world's
largest generator of offshore wind power next year.