Feeds

New mega offshore windfarms could supply 2% of UK energy

Likely to be offshored in more senses than one, though

New hybrid storage solutions

Licences have been awarded to develop nine massive new offshore wind farms which could - if fully exploited - deliver as much as two per cent of the UK's present day energy requirements.

Developers have been encouraged to move ahead with expensive offshore wind projects by the government's promise to double the Renewables Obligation Certificate (ROC) quota for offshore wind projects agreed by 2015. Under the ROC scheme a windfarm operator makes a lot of extra money on top of revenue gained by selling electricity, and the cost of this is added to consumer bills.

Wind-industry spokesmen welcomed the licence issues, but said that still more government incentives and assistance would be required if any of the work of building the possible turbine farms was to come to Britain.

The Crown Estate, the arm of government which owns British seabed rights (and many other things) announced the licence awards on Friday.

"The Crown Estate will continue to play an active role working closely with our new partners to deliver their offer of 32 gigawatts – which equates to a quarter of the UK’s electricity needs," said Roger Bright, Crown Estate chief.

"The offshore wind industry is at the heart of the UK economy’s shift to low carbon and could... support up to 70,000 jobs by 2020," added Prime Minister Gordon Brown. "This announcement will make a significant and practical contribution to reducing our CO2 emissions."

According to the CIA, annual British electricity consumption stands at 345,800 gigawatt-hours. Should the full 32 gigawatts of windfarm capacity appear, they could be expected to run at an average load factor of 0.3 or a little better, putting out 84,100 gigawatt-hours over time: as Mr Bright says, about a quarter of present-day electricity consumption.

However, just nine per cent of British energy is today supplied in the form of electricity - the rest is used mainly as fossil fuels such as gas, petrol, oil etc - so the new wind farms would in fact supply about two per cent of our national energy requirements assuming full development and no growth in consumption between now and completion of the projects. Emissions cuts would be of similar magnitude.

Investors believe that the windfarms can pay their way, as the government has stated that any offshore project agreed by the end of 2014 will be issued two ROCs for every megawatt-hour it produces, rather than 1.5 as is normal for offshore farms or just one for onshore facilities. Anyone supplying electricity in the UK must get hold of ROCs equal to 9.1 per cent of the juice supplied at present or pay a "buy out" fine, and this percentage will climb to 15.4 as of 2015.

The end effect of this is to make all electricity more expensive, so covering the greater cost of producing some of it in windfarms.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Thought that last dinosaur was BIG? This one's bloody ENORMOUS
Weighed several adult elephants, contend boffins
Chelyabinsk-sized SURPRISE asteroid to skim Earth, satnav birds
Space rock appears out of nowhere, buzzes planet on Sunday
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
'Duck face' selfie in SPAAAACE: Rosetta's snap with bird comet
Probe prepares to make first landing on fast-moving rock
Square Kilometre Array reveals its 1.6TB-a-day storage and network rigs
Boolardy Engineering Test Array - aka BETA - is about to come out of Beta
LOHAN invites ENTIRE REG READERSHIP to New Mexico shindig
Well, those of you who back our Kickstarter tin-rattling...
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.