A new milestone in offshore wind energy was reached today as the world’s largest offshore wind farm opened off the east coast of the UK. The Thanet wind farm in Kent comprises 100 turbines which will be able to produce 300 MW of electricity, enough to power more than 200,000 homes a year.
Chris Huhne, UK environment secretary, is set to officially open the farm today. “We are an island nation and I firmly believe we should be harnessing our wind, wave and tidal resources to the maximum,” Huhne told the BBC.
Once Thanet is online, the amount of electricity generated by wind power in the UK will reach nearly 5 GW – or enough to power 3 million homes.
Maria McCaffery of Renewable UK said that Britain was on the verge of exporting wind powered electricity.
In keeping with its goal of rapidly ramping up the use of wind power and other renewables, South Korea is planning a $7.8-billion offshore wind farm complex that will initially feature 200 5MW wind turbines.
In addition, the highly-industrialised nation of 48.5 million people hopes by 2019 to have as many as 1,000 offshore wind turbines generating up to 5GW of electricity per hour, a Yonhap News Agency report said, adding that would be equivalent to the amount of electricity generated by four nuclear reactors.
The story is an example of forward-thinking Asian nations — China, India and South Korea among them — getting deeply involved in the expanding wind power sector and setting ambitious targets for harnessing green electricity to replace expensive and polluting fossil fuels.
North American towns like Sweetwater, Texas — originally fuelled by cheap land and wealth derived from cattle, minerals, timber, railroads and oil — once prompted dreams of success, grandeur and independence.
In the past few decades, however, many of these towns on the western side of the North American continent have been in economic decline as their boarded-up storefronts and a palpable reek of decay so sadly prove.
So it was with welcome pleasure that during a business trip through west Texas last week I was able to witness a rebirth of sorts, a renewed sense of optimism.
Cyclists were out in force in Brussels yesterday as all the roads were closed to vehicles for Car Free Sunday. Spectators and cyclists took the chance to stop off and browse the Hard Rain photo exhibition, displaying harrowing images of climate change, in front of the European Parliament.