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The Renewable Energy Centre helps to make the Subject of Wind Power a Breeze for the UK
With the rising popularity of renewable technologies in the UK The Renewable Energy Centre was pleased to announce a record number of visits to the Wind Power section of the website this month.
By: The Renewable Energy Centre
The Nuclear Power versus Renewable Energy debate in the news recently has particularly fuelled interest in the subject and The Renewable Energy Centre believes it is vital that individuals and businesses throughout the UK are kept informed of the benefits and drawbacks of this alternative source of power.
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The Renewable Energy Centre defines Wind Power as the conversion of wind energy into electricity using a wind turbine. The Wind turbines convert the kinetic energy from the wind into mechanical energy which is then used to drive a generator converting the energy into electricity.
Wind Power currently only contributes as little as 2% towards the total electricity generated in the UK. There are 141 grid-connected wind farms in the UK containing 1787 wind turbines with the capacity to generate 2066 MW - enough electricity to supply the needs of 1,154,964 homes.
The latest development in the Wind Power industry is the £3 billion ‘Atlantic Array’ proposal for the worlds largest offshore wind farm to be built of the coast of North Devon. The project has a potential capacity of 1,500 MW and could generate electricity for up to million homes, amounting to 53% of domestic energy needs of southwest England. This would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 2.3 million tonnes per year, 5% of the southwest’s total.
The Devon based company Farm Energy Ltd has been named as the company behind the initiative. This firm is also responsible for the ‘London Array’ project in the Thames Estuary which according to the BBC is the largest offshore wind scheme.
The Atlantic Array scheme is still in the early planning stages, if it gains the necessary regulatory approval it could be generating electricity by 2018.
Wind power is also an option for homeowners throughout the UK wishing to fight against climate change, however at present they may be deterred by the long and complicated process. Currently, homeowners wishing to make micro-generation additions to their home must wait for their applications to be processed and approved by the local council and this can take several months and cost up to a £1000.
Ruth Kelly, Labour Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government recently proposed to eliminate the need for planning permission for renewable technologies. However there will be restrictions, and for wind turbines in particular. Homeowners will not be permitted to install a turbine in highly urbanized areas as the turbines will provide little real contribution and could be seen as having an aesthetically negative impact on the surrounding neighbourhood.
There are currently approximately 100,000 micro generation installations across the UK including wind and water source or ground source heat pumps. Based on Kelly’s proposals the figure is expected to rise to more than 1.3 million by 2020.
Richard Simmons, founder of The Renewable Energy Centre stated:
“If Britain is to meet the carbon emissions reduction targets set by the government we must all direct our attention to wind power, one of our most undervalued resources. The UK landscapes and shallow continental shelf around the coast line makes it particularly suitable for wind turbines but despite this, Britain is behind most other European countries in generating electricity in this way.
He continued “In order to help any individual or organisation research Wind Power and how it applies to them The Renewable Energy Centre is an invaluable resource. The Wind Power section not only contains a fully comprehensive national & local directory of specialist products and suppliers in this arena but a broad introduction to the subject itself.”
Experts predict that large scale wind turbine farms on and offshore will become a major supplier of electricity to the national grid in the next twenty years. Whether it is from a wind farm or micro-generation, experts believe that to meet government targets by 2020 approximately a fifth of the country’s electricity will need to be generated by wind turbines. This would mean that 10,000 new wind turbines would have to be built to generate enough electricity, which may prove to be an unrealistic target for the UK.