When it is finished later this year, the giant offshore windfarm off the Skegness coast will be the largest in the world.
It might assume that mantle only briefly, but the development, spearheaded by energy giant Centrica and using technology developed by Siemens, will still be a leading light of Britain’s wind energy industry.
Earlier this year the Government agreed to a tough target of getting 15 per cent of all its energy from renewable sources by the year 2020.
This is likely to require an extra 33 gigawatts of power coming from offshore windfarms and 7GW from on-shore turbines. To give an idea of scale, that is more than 220 times the amount of electricity the 54 turbines at Centrica’s Lynn and Inner Dowsing developments will produce.
Critics have said the yields and reliability of windfarms do not make them worth the expense.
But Friends of the Earth, the Government and the energy companies say Britain has the best wind resources in the world and should harness them.
FAMOUS botanist Dr David Bellamy caused a stir in 2004 when he claimed wind farms were a giant waste of money.
Dr Bellamy, who leads the judging panel at the annual Lincolnshire Environmental Awards, said the turbines were not a realistic way of generating enough renewable energy to make a noticeable difference to the UK’s overall carbon emissions.
He warned that Denmark – a country which has embraced wind power wholeheartedly – had the most expensive electricity costs in Europe.
With electricity generation accounting for just over a quarter of the UK’s carbon dioxide emissions, and wind farms responsible for less than 0.3 per cent of all electricity produced at the time of his speech in 2004, wind energy trimmed the UK’s overall CO2 emissions by less than 0.1 per cent.
Dr Bellamy said those kinds of figures could not justify the impact on the landscape or the extra Government investment that would be needed if here was to be a major expansion of wind farms.
9 May 2008
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