Britain Pushes for Major Wind Targets

The United Kingdom will have more than 2,000 megawatts of installed wind energy by the end of 2005, predicts the country’s wind energy group.

LONDON, England, UK, 2001-04-02 <> Turbines will generate 5.7 million kilowatt-hours of electricity each year within five years, says the British Wind Energy Association. That output is equivalent to 1.6 percent of the total electricity supply in Britain, and sufficient to meet the demand of one and a quarter million homes in the country. “This will be a great step towards achieving 10 percent from renewable energy by 2010,” says BWEA chief executive Nick Goodall. “The increasing recognition of climate change on the political agenda demonstrates the urgency of such rapid growth.” Britain has 409 MW of current wind capacity, including 3.8 MW from its first offshore wind farm. An additional 119 MW is expected to be commissioned by the end of this year, with the balance of 1,500 MW to be installed in four years. Most of the BWEA target is expected to come from offshore installations. The government’s Crown Estate is expected to announce leased sites totalling 1,000 MW soon, with facilities to be installed by 2005. Another 500 MW could be met by deploying existing NFFO wind power contracts. Currently, 2,000 MW of wind capacity that was awarded under the last three rounds of the Non-Fossil Fuel Obligation have yet to be built. “Government’s recent announcement that frustrated NFFO developments may now be eligible to be relocated is an encouraging sign of progress towards developing renewable energy,” says Goodall. But he warned that progress is still needed in key policy areas if Britain is to meet its targets on greenhouse gas emissions. Last September, BWEA published a strategy that has become a reference document in regional resource studies, and the association works closely with the Crown Estate to enable further offshore licensing. The federal Department of Trade & Industry predicts that wind energy could provide as much as 2,000 MW from offshore developments by 2010. “From time to time, critics of renewable energy say that it is not possible to achieve significant volumes of electricity from technologies such as wind power but, as we’ve seen in Germany and Spain, that is simply not the case,” explains Goodall “We are building for our future with a fuel which is clean, green and sustainable. What’s more, – there’s more of it in the U.K. than anywhere else in Europe.” Currently, there are 857 grid-connected wind turbines installed in Britain which generate 409 MW of electricity. BWEA has confirmed construction of a further 119 MW of wind power capacity in 2001, and the wind industry currently displaces the emission of 1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide each year. The NFFO was a mechanism to support the development of renewable technologies in Britain. Contracts were awarded following a competitive process under which the least expensive schemes were selected to secure the required capacity for each specified technology. The NFFO is enabled by the Fossil Fuel Levy on domestic electricity bills, and the share for wind power is equivalent to £1 per household per year. While existing NFFO contracts will be honoured, the system has been replaced by the new Renewables Obligation. Under this new scheme, all electricity suppliers will be required to source 10 percent of their supply from renewable energy by 2010. Renewable electricity is also exempt from the government’s Climate Change Levy. The European Wind Energy Association predicts that 60,000 MW of wind capacity will be installed across the continent by 2010, with 5,000 MW from offshore facilities.

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