2020 renewables target stirs action in UK

GWYNT Y MOR, WALES - With major 2020 targets for renewable energy sources looming, the United Kingdom's wind power sector continues to launch new projects.

The latest project to be given clearance by the newly created Department of Energy and Climate Change is the 750-megawatt (MW) Gwynt y Mor offshore windfarm off the coast of North Wales.

Npower Renewables (Swindon), the U.K. subsidiary of Germany's RWE Innogy, will construct the windfarm located 13 kilometers offshore with an array of wind turbines with generating capacities ranging from 3 MW to 5 MW. The turbines will stand in water depths between 12 meters and 34 meters according to the tides.

This requires a hub height of up to 100 meters and a rotor diameter of about 130 meters. The turbines will stand in positions to ensure optimum wind exploitation between 350 meters and 1,000 meters apart.

RWE currently operates the 60-MW North Hoyle windfarm off the Welsh coast and is constructing a 90-MW project off the North Wales coast. In a joint venture with Scottish and Southern Energy, RWE is constructing the 500-MW Greater Gabbard Offshore windfarm 25 kilometers off the coast of Suffolk.

REpower 5-MW turbines will also be installed 45 kilometers north of Borkum Island, Germany. The turbines, designed for offshore operation, will be assembled at the company's new offshore assembly plant in Bremerhaven.

Vestas will supply 100 3-MW V90 - 3.0 for state-owned Vattenfall's (Stockholm, Sweden) 300-MW Thanet Offshore windfarm 11.3 kilometers offshore in the Thames Estuary. Installation will take place in 2010. Vestas' contract covers the design, supply, construction, testing and commissioning of the turbines and a five-year operation and maintenance contract. Vattenfall is responsible for foundations, offshore and onshore cables with substations and offshore installation vessels.

In Scotland, a study commissioned by the Scottish Council for Development and Industry has forecast that power generated from windfarms will have to increase 500% to 6,600 MW and will require 2,000 new turbines to meet the 2020 target of having 50% renewable, clean power by 2020.

Currently, Scottish windfarms have a capacity of 1,300 MW. This has reignited disputes about the comparative merits of wind, nuclear and other power sources. Land usage and offshore windfarms are at the leading edge of discussion, as the target would mean an average 450 MW of new wind power every year through 2020.


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