Scotland sets up new fund to help develop offshore wind power

» By | Published 03 Nov 2010 |

The future for offshore wind power in the United Kingdom continues to attract government support with Tuesday’s announcement that Scotland has set up a €80 million investment fund to help secure its place in Europe’s rapidly developing offshore industry.

First Minister Alex Salmond announced that the fund — which, according to a press release, is designed to “strengthen port and manufacturing facilities and supply chain provision for manufacturing offshore wind turbines and related components” — at a RenewableUK conference in Glasgow.

“The offshore wind industry is seeking leadership and immediate support from government and the Scottish government is determined to provide that,” Salmond said.

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Private sector money follows British government support of offshore wind

» By | Published 26 Oct 2010 |

Offshore wind power in the UK received a huge boost of confidence on Monday with announcements that a number of international energy companies were going ahead with plans to invest heavily in the growing sector.

That the announcements came less than a week after the government signaled it would provide about €68m for port upgrades despite massive cuts to programmes and personnel proves once again that offshore wind power is becoming a key part of a new green economy.

The Wall Street Journal reported that GE, Siemens, Mitsubishi and Gamesa said they will invest more than €450 million in the UK’s offshore wind sector after the government announced a funding package to upgrade British ports so that they could handle the next generation of offshore wind turbines.

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UK goes ahead with plans to upgrade ports and promote offshore wind power

» By | Published 21 Oct 2010 |

Maria McCafferyWhile short on details, the UK government’s Spending Review that Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne announced on Wednesday appears to have understood the vital importance of funding port infrastructure projects aimed at encouraging increased growth in the European offshore wind sector.

Although many national departments face significant funding and personnel cuts, the government did announce it “is committed to reducing the UK’s carbon emissions.”

Part of this commitment was a pledge of “more than [€220 million] for the   development of low carbon technologies including offshore wind technology and manufacturing at port sites.”

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Upgraded UK ports will help both Britain and the offshore wind sector

» By | Published 08 Oct 2010 |

Although the British government is about to begin an aggressive series of budget cuts in order to help the moribund national economy recover from the ongoing financial crisis, its seems foolish to remove port infrastructure funding destined to spur even greater growth in the lucrative offshore wind industry.

According to a report in today’s Guardian, as many as 60,000 green jobs could be in jeopardy if plans to build three factories to make offshore wind turbines are sacrificed by the government’s spending review.

Noting the previous government had pledged €68m to upgrade ports so they could handle the next generation of offshore wind turbines, the story said Siemens and General Electric have announced plans to invest €205m in two new UK manufacturing plants.

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Offshore wind power: a chance for change

» By | Published 11 May 2010 |

GWEC

As BP continues to search for ways to plug the leak that occurred three weeks ago at the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico spilling more than three million gallons of crude oil into the ocean, it is becoming more and more clear that the world needs alternative solutions.

Offshore wind power can provide part of the answer to the dilemma of reducing our dependence on finite and polluting fossil fuels. In Europe alone the winds blowing across the seas are an abundant energy source which can be transformed into green electricity that does not emit CO2, and will reduce Europe’s growing dependence on imported fossil fuels, creating thousands of sustainable jobs in the process.

There are currently 830 offshore wind turbines now installed and connected to the grid, totalling 2,063 MW in 39 wind farms in nine European countries. Some 17 offshore wind farms are under construction in Europe, totalling more than 3,500 MW, with just under half being constructed in UK waters. In addition, a further 52 offshore wind farms have won full consent in European waters, totalling more than 16,000 MW, with just over half of this capacity planned in Germany. And the growth rates are impressive: In 2009, the market grew by 54% compared to 2008. In 2010 the market grew by an even more considerable 75% compared to the previous year.

EWEA has a target of reaching 230 GW of wind power by 2020 which will include 40 GW of offshore power. This is a challenging but very feasible goal. By 2030, just ten years later, we envisage some 150 GW of offshore wind power.

If all offshore wind projects in their various stages of planning are added up, there are already some 100 GW of offshore wind projects in addition to existing farms. If these become fully functioning wind farms, they would produce 10% of the EU’s electricity while also avoiding 200 million tonnes of CO2 emissions each year.

Europe must now use the coming decade to prepare for the large-scale exploitation of its biggest indigenous energy resource – offshore wind – overcoming the seemingly significant obstacles – including underwater electricity grids and cables, building the harbours and barges capable of facilitating the installation of offshore wind farms – in the path of its development.

As the US and China are already beginning to show, Europe’s success in offshore wind power can then be repeated the world over.

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