UK is now top of the offshore wind farm league

Posted: 21 October 2008

The UK has overtaken Denmark to become the world's number one for wind farms built offshore, with 597MW fully constructed. Announcing this, the UK government said the achievement has been made possible after building work finished at Centrica's Lynn and Inner Dowsing wind farms near Skegness.

Offshore wind farms now have the potential to power the equivalent of around 300,000 UK homes.

Skegness offshore windfarm
Skegness offshore windfarm
Skegness offshore windfarm. Photo © Dave Hughes
Mike O'Brien, Minister of State at the new Department of Energy and Climate Change made the announcement whilst visiting the wind farms off the coast of Skegness. He said the UK is now getting 3 gigawatts of our electricity capacity from wind power. "That's enough to power more than 1.5 million homes. Offshore wind makes up 20 per cent of that capacity and the wind farms I am visiting today are the ones that have made the UK the world's number one for offshore wind power, knocking Denmark off the top spot."

"Overtaking Denmark is just the start. There are already five more offshore wind farms under construction that will add a further 938 megawatts to our total by the end of next year. We are also assessing plans to increase the total by a massive 25 gigawatts in the future. That's enough electricity for every home in the country."

Centrica CEO, Sam Laidlaw, said: "Not only is Lynn and Inner Dowsing the biggest wind development in the world, it represents a major milestone on the journey to secure the UK's future energy needs."

International windpower capacity, end 2007
International windpower capacity, end 2007
The news that the UK is now the world leader in offshore wind power follows today's announcement by the Carbon Trust to help accelerate offshore wind power in the UK. The Carbon Trust will work with five major energy companies, on a new £30m initiative to cut the costs of energy from offshore wind by 10 per cent.

European targets

Commenting on today's announcement, Friends of the Earth's renewable energy campaigner, Nick Rau said: "It's great news that the UK is now leading the world in off-shore wind power - but we're still near the bottom of the European league table for harnessing renewable energy.

"The Government must stop trying to wriggle out of European green energy targets and put a massive effort into making renewable power the number one source of energy in the UK.

"The UK has one of the biggest renewable energy potentials in Europe - this must be harnessed to make this country a world leader in tackling climate change. This will help cut emissions, create hundreds of thousands of jobs and secure a clean, safe energy supply - leading Britain to a cleaner and more prosperous future."

The European Council is expected to decide its position on the EU Renewable Directive this week. The Directive will commit Europe to generating 20 per cent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020. FOE said "The UK will have to generate 15 per cent of its energy from renewable sources by this date, but has attempted to introduce a series of 'compromise amendments' - such as excluding aviation - which would weaken the Directive."