New wind and sun power projects

Posted: 21 February 2007

Giant wind turbines and big solar power plants are appearing in the most unlikely places as the renewable energy revolution gets under way. Here we report on the first wind turbine to be built in the UK, outside territorial waters, and the first solar plant of its kind to be built in the Gulf states.

The British government has given its consent for the construction of the 500 MW Greater Gabbard offshore wind farm, off the east coast of England.

Under development by Fluor and Airtricity, the project is the third of the UK's large Round 2 offshore wind farms to get the go-ahead, and follows on from the recent consenting of the 1000 MW London Array and the 300 MW Thanet wind farms.

Altogether the UK has a pipeline of around 10 GW of offshore wind, of which 2484 MW has been consented. To date, 304 MW has been built and another 294 MW is under construction.

The Greater Gabbard offshore wind farm is unique in that, at 23 km from shore, it is the first to be built outside of British territorial waters.

Gulf first

Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi is to build a $350m solar power plant, the first of its kind in the Gulf, according to an investor in the project. Abu Dhabi holds more than 90 per cent of the oil reserves of the United Arab Emirates, the seven-member federation.

The 500-megawatt plant, expected to be complete by 2009, is part of Abu Dhabi's drive to reduce dependence on hydrocarbon power, Sultan al-Jaber, chief executive of Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company, said. Future Energy, a subsidiary of government-owned Mubadala Development Company, and the Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority will fund the plant with other investors. The emirate eventually hopes to provide solar-powered electricity to 10,000 homes and is setting up a special economic zone for the alternative-energy industry, Jaber said. Source: Renewable Energy News and agency reports, 18 February, 2007