Scotland to Build UK’s First and World’s Largest Offshore Wind Farm
Nov 08 2015
The Scottish government recently announced plans to construct the UK’s first floating wind farm, which will also become the world’s largest offshore wind power generation point upon its completion. The project is named Hywind and will be undertaken by Norwegian energy construction firm Statoil, and a final completion date has been earmarked for 2017.
The project is in keeping with British (and in particular Scottish) efforts to meet EU targets of generating 20% of all of the country’s energy needs from renewable means by 2020. It is also in keeping with 2011 predictions that wind power use would increase threefold by 2020 in EU countries, according to the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA).
A Massive Environmental Engineering Undertaking
The Hywind development will be installed around 16 miles (25km) off the Scottish east coast. Connected to the mainland by undersea cables anchored to the seabed, five gigantic turbines will harness the raw power of Scottish offshore winds. These will produce as much as 135-gigawatt hours of electricity on an annual basis, which should theoretically be enough to power as many as 20,000 Scottish homes.
Despite the fact that the construction project will be a huge undertaking, it shouldn’t take more than two years to put in place and its cost will be relatively reasonable, in comparison to natural gas power plants. Such a theory is attested to the report released not long ago by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
The Scottish coastline has long been touted as one of the most apt places for a wind farm in Europe, since the winds endured offshore possess a great amount of potential. Analysing such meteorological measurements is key to deciding any new location for a wind farm, in the UK or elsewhere.
Of course, the power generated by the Hywind project pales in comparison to that garnered from nuclear power stations. Even a small nuclear power plant is capable of producing as much as 4,000 gigawatt hours of electricity per annum, meaning it outstrips wind farms by some distance. Even so, the signal of intent from the Scottish government is good news for environmentalists and those generally concerned about our overuse of fossil fuels and the damage this is wreaking on our planet.
The announcement from the SNPs comes a matter of days after a similar declaration from Dong Energy, who stated their intention to construct another massive floating wind farm off the coast of Wales.
Positioned in the Irish Sea, the Dong Energy plant is targeting completion the year after Hywind and has also claimed to be the biggest in the world by the time it is finished. Whether or not it will surpass the capabilities of Hywind is not yet known – but surely, the fact that such competition exists in the world of renewable energy and wind power generation in particular is a good sign for the future of our planet.
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