World's largest wind farm opens
off UK coast
Oct 18, 2010 - The Associated Press
The world's largest offshore wind farm
opened off the southeast coast of England on Thursday,
as part of the British government's push to boost
Swedish energy company Vattenfall,
which constructed the wind farm, said the 100 turbines
off the coast of Thanet could, at their peak, produce
enough electricity a year to power the equivalent
of more than 200,000 homes.
The huge site on the North Sea, built seven miles
(12 kilometers) off the coast, will boost the renewable
energy now generated by the onshore and offshore
wind turbines around the U.K.
With the opening of the Thanet wind farm, Britain
now has the capacity to produce 5 gigawatts of wind-powered
energy - roughly the amount of energy needed to power
all the homes in Scotland, Energy Secretary Chris
Britain gets only 3 percent of its energy from renewable
sources but is aiming for a target of 15 percent
by 2020. The nation ranks 25th of 27 European Union
countries on action on green power.
"We are an island nation and I firmly believe
we should be harnessing our wind, wave and tidal
resources to the maximum," Huhne said at a ceremony
at sea as he officially opened the Thanet wind farm.
Each Thanet turbine is up to 380 feet (115 meters)
tall and the site is as large as 4,000 football fields.
Vattenfall said its new farm could generate 300 megawatts
of energy at full capacity, although critics note
that wind power output can be intermittent and variable.
The company said the farm is expected to operate
for at least 25 years.
Environmental group Friends of the Earth said Britain's
record on renewable energy is still dismal and urged
more investment in green energy projects.
The group wants the British government to guarantee
funding of at least 2 billion pounds ($3.1 billion)
a year for the Green Investment Bank, which aims
to boost private-sector spending on low-carbon technology.