UK Making the Most of Being Europe’s Windiest Country
Growing concerns about climate change and the finite nature of traditional fuels, has led much of the world to seek an end to their dependence on fossil fuels and to increase output from renewable sources.
As part of the European Union’s Energy Directive target for 20 per cent of all energy to be from renewable sources by 2020, each EU member nation agreed their own renewable energy targets. Whilst other nations with far more ambitious targets, such as Sweden with 49 per cent, have already hit theirs, when figures were last released in 2013 the UK had only achieved 41% of its relatively low target of 15 per cent, so had a significant gap to make up. A growing number of wind projects may help the UK to turn this around.
As the windiest country in Europe, wind energy has increasingly been viewed as the UK’s best option for sustainable energy, with turbines nationwide able to produce power on average 70 – 85 per cent of the time. Wind turbines are also incredibly space efficient and once built, on-going operational costs are low.
With nearly 7,000 wind turbines (both on and offshore) currently operational across the UK, wind energy is already the UK’s largest source of renewable power and projections from Renewable UK predict that output from onshore wind turbines will reach 10 per cent of the UK’s total electricity use by 2020.
In the extreme north, Scotland saw its energy output from wind increase 16% from 2014 to 2015. Scotland is already home to the UK’s two largest onshore windfarms, with recent analysis by WWF Scotland concluding that Scotland’s current turbines already produce enough power to provide electricity to all Scottish homes.
Whilst onshore turbines have traditionally produced most of the UK’s wind energy, and still account for more than 75 per cent of all turbines, since the year 2000 when the first offshore farm was completed, the UK has established itself as a world leader in offshore wind production.
The UK recently announced plans to create the largest offshore wind farm in the world, off the coast of Yorkshire. With investment and management from Denmark’s Dong Energy, this project named Hornsea Project One, will eventually have a capacity of 1.2 gigawatts, enough to power a million homes.
Such large scale investment in wind is great news for the UK and Europe’s renewable energy professionals, with an estimated 2000 new jobs to be created by the Dong Energy farm alone.
How much the UK is able to make up its deficit and hit its target will only be known for sure when the updated figures are released in May and finally when the 2020 deadline hits, in the mean time for specialist wind consultants the UK is an increasingly hot location.
For such professionals seeking project opportunities or for clients requiring suitable talent and project management of their own wind projects contact us today.