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10 February 2011

E.ON project confirms uptrend in UK wind investments

The coalition Government yesterday (9 February) gave the go-ahead for the development of a new offshore wind farm in the UK, while interest in the building of wind turbine factories in the country grows, indicating a positive green energy future for the nation.

Energy company E.ON was granted permission to build the 77-turbine Humber Gateway wind farm, which will be situated around five miles off the Holderness coast in Yorkshire.

The project is expected to provide another boost to the Northeast, following Siemens’ recent confirmation that it will build an offshore wind farm at the port of Hull.

The new wind farm will generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of 150,000 homes and is the first offshore scheme to be given consent since December 2008.

Chris Huhne, Energy and Climate Change Secretary, said: "Offshore wind not only provides clean, green, secure energy, the investment that comes with it is great for the UK economy too.”

The Government decision on E.ON reflects growing interest in building wind farms in the country, signifying gradual shift to a green energy future.

Vestas Wind Systems and Gamesa Corporacion Tecnologica are among the companies that have expressed interest in building offshore wind farms in the UK.

Ditlev Engel, Chief Executive of the Danish firm Vestas, said: “It would take us maybe a year to build a plant. We’ll see how these things evolve.”

Vestas is also reportedly keen to sell a new offshore wind turbine at the end of next month. “The 6-megawatt turbine will be marketed and presented in London on the 30th of March,” Engel told the newswire Bloomberg.

If the sale agreement is made, no installation will take place before 2014/2015. This will be in line with The Crown Estate’s recently announced third round of offshore wind projects, which has the aim to install 25 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind capacity by 2020.

Investor interest in the UK wind energy industry has intensified this year. At the Nordic-Baltic summit held in January, Vattenfall representatives met UK Prime Minister David Cameron and expressed a desire to develop a large offshore wind farm in the North Sea.

Wind energy generation has not only increased in the UK, but has developed as a worldwide trend. New figures released by the Global Wind Energy Council show global wind power installations increased by 35.8 GW in 2010.

More than half of all new wind farms were added outside of the traditional markets in Europe and North America. This was mainly driven by the continuing boom in China, which accounted for nearly half the new wind installations (16.5 GW).

Continuing progress in the wind energy sector in the UK is anticipated to place the nation on track to meet the 2020 target of generating 15 per cent of all energy produced from renewable sources.

Image: phault | Flickr

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