September 23rd, 2010
10:26 AM GMT
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London, England (CNN) – By the end of Thursday, Britain will have the ability to get four percent of its electricity consumption from wind, thanks in part to the addition of 100 turbines 11 kilometers off the coast of Kent.

The new site is Vattenfall’s "300 MW Thanet Offshore Wind Farm," a major renewable energy initiative spearheaded by the previous British government. It could supply more than 200,000 homes.

The four-year-old project has been delayed by two years, and at one point was owned by a hedge fund. But now, under Vattenfall, it’s ready.

It seems to me that Britain is getting less praise than Denmark and Germany, or less notice. And today changes that. Britain is so windy it’s estimated an offshore turbine in the UK generates 50 percent more power than a turbine in Germany.

Of the 16 offshore wind farms now under construction around Europe, half are in Britain according to the European OffShore Wind Industry.

That translates to much more wind farm capacity being constructed in the UK (2.4 gigawatts) during the first half of 2010 than the rest of Europe combined (1.5 gigawatts).

In total, wind is close to supplying energy to nearly three million British homes, according to UK energy association RenewableUK.

The challenge is to find places where locals won't complain, which is why offshore wind farms are so desirable. The wind there is also stronger.

Of course, the farther offshore you go, the more it costs to construct and carry power back to shore.

Thanet will not keep its crown as the world largest operational offshore wind farm for long though.

In late 2012 or 2013, the London Array wind farm - a project being funded by energy companies E.ON, DONG Energy and Masdar - is scheduled to start generating electricity just north of the Thanet site.

The owners say the 300 proposed wind turbines could become the world's first one gigawatt offshore wind farm.

When up and running, the London Array will go a long way to helping Britain reach the UK government’s target of providing 15 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2015.

How does that compare to where you live?

soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Me

    We need some of these

    September 23, 2010 at 11:38 am |
  2. Nostromo45

    Good luck to the UK on its wind-energy farms; already read about this on CNN some months back. At least off-shore will not spoil on-shore environments.
    Here in Northern Spain we have small wind-farms spread out over tops of hills all over the place; they are rather unsightly, and if you stand under one of them you hear quite a lot of noise, surprisingly.
    My worry with off-shore wind-farms (or oil platforms....duh) is that they will interrupt shipping lanes or fishing activities, but worse still may disorientate whales, dolphins, etc. Something similar with the ocean currents turbines operating off the north Portuguese coast.
    However, I think the real answer lies in Concentrated Solar Power (CSP). We have one working near Sevilla and others are planned. But the big thing is to use them in deserts – Sahara or Mojave CA, Arizona, etc. – for example, such that immense amounts of energy can be developed, and is totally ecological.

    September 23, 2010 at 11:40 am |
  3. gringo

    Thats fantastic news! Wind energy is truly an industry for the coming generations. Renewable power source, jobs created in design, and construction of the turbines, jobs created in the construction of the fields, maintenance and so on. a win – win really.
    Unfortunately it does not speak very highly of CNN's readership that there are no comments on this post and hundereds about the celebrity of the minute or some Tea Bag wacko.

    September 23, 2010 at 11:42 am |
  4. DrTom

    Where I live 100% of energy comes from wind and Sun

    September 23, 2010 at 11:47 am |
  5. Deepwater805

    Rumor has it that most of the wind will actually be coming from Tony Blair's beach house.....

    September 23, 2010 at 12:26 pm |
  6. Renviable000

    In our country (India) there is a place where lot of wind and only that is generated reliably. Its our politician's mouth.

    September 23, 2010 at 12:28 pm |
  7. Mary

    Excellent post, Jim! My old stomping grounds.

    September 23, 2010 at 7:34 pm |
  8. chris

    we definitly need some of these in the States –

    September 29, 2010 at 8:18 pm |
  9. don canard

    what is mystifying to me is why they need to be sited offshore, where the construction costs are much higher and the environmental dangers are greater.

    In Germany and Holland, they're all over the coastline, inland, sited on farmers' fields, rather than arrayed in ranks (where surely the eddies generated by the windmills affect each other).

    Is this because all the fashionable idiots want renewable power, but not in their backyards ? Because the windmills are "unsightly" and disturb the indolent 'upscale' public's "pastoral" fantasyland ?

    October 1, 2010 at 7:09 pm |
  10. myeyeslie

    how well will those offshore windmills do against mother nature's rage?

    October 4, 2010 at 9:02 am |

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