UK Wind Energy: The Build Begins

One year from the publication of the UK Government’s bold vision in their Energy White Paper new figures released by the British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) show that the UK wind industry is poised for major expansion, and projects are now underway. Projects totaling over 1,000 megawatts (MW) of new capacity, representing an investment of some 1 billion pounds (US$1.89 billion), will be built over the next two years. This will take the total installed capacity in the UK to well over 1,500 MW by the end of 2005, generating enough electricity from the power of the wind to meet the needs of almost one million UK homes.

London, UK – February 26, 2004 [] A survey carried out by BWEA shows that 22 new wind projects are due to be built this year, representing some 474 MW of new wind capacity, over four times the total installed last year. The list of new build includes 21 developments onshore and a new offshore wind farm at Scroby Sands, the UK’s second large-scale development at sea, off the coast of Great Yarmouth in Norfolk. These figures stand in sharp contrast to wind farm development in the United States which is likely a total bust for 2004 due to an expired federal tax credit. While the measure enjoys broad bi-partisan support, it remains hostage to comprehensive energy legislation pending in the Senate. The UK Government has been quite supportive of wind power, and renewable energy in general. With the push for renewable energy acceptence behind them, developers in the UK can now begin to build projects to meet the UK’s clean energy demand. “These figures are really encouraging as they show at long last that we have now entered the phase of delivery,” Marcus Rand, Chief Executive of BWEA, said. “The next two years will be critical for our industry. We must build up a significant head of steam so that we can deliver the build rates required to hit our national renewable targets and help in the fight to combat climate change. These figures indicate that significant momentum is building and the 10% target is within reach.” BWEA also undertook a survey of five major developers establishing their predictions for build in 2005. The results indicate further growth of the industry next year with a predicted 560 MW of projects being built onshore and offshore in 2005, taking new build over the next two years to over a gigawatt with the wind industry supplying 1.3% of total UK electricity needs. “Wind energy will be the key contributor in helping us meet our national renewable targets,” UK Energy Minister Stephen Timms said. “Today’s news is a welcome boost and provides further confidence that the UK will be at the forefront of developing wind energy over the next few years.” The UK wind industry has long been viewed as one of the most significant markets for wind power in the world. BWEA said these figures are the start of that potential being realized and will put the industry well on the way to meeting widely-held expectations that almost three-quarters of the 10% target for renewables will come from wind power. “2003 was the year of consents: 2004 will be the year of build,” Rand said.
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