A report by the Department of Energy and Climate Change says the huge expansion is necessary if Britain is to meet greenhouse gas emissions targets.
Chris Huhne, the energy secretary wants to convert all Britain’s vehicles and homes to run on electricity by 2050, the Sunday Times reported. This will require a sharp increase in electricity generation by as much as double, with almost all coming from low-carbon sources such as wind and nuclear power.
There are currently 3,000 onshore turbines and several hundred offshore. They have helped cut carbon emissions but generate just 1-2pc of the nation’s power.
The programme risks transforming Britain’s wild landscapes, with an estimated 6,000 to 10,000 turbines needed onshore and up to 25,000 required offshore, with many visible from land.
Until there are dramatic increases in solar and wave power technology wind turbines and nuclear are regarded the most viable green energy sources.
Currently there are 43 new wind parks under construction housing 1,251 turbines. Councils have granted approval to a further 2,115 at 245 wind warms.
Huhne’s carbon plan proposes that in 20 years renewable energy, mainly wind, should have been expanded tenfold from 5 gigawatts to 50GW, providing 40 per cent of power by 2030. One nuclear plant a year should be built from 2019, the plan says.
By 2050 renewable power generation may have to rise to 80GW, roughly equal to Britain’s entire current generating capacity.
Huhne also wants all Britain’s 30 million petrol and diesel cars powered by batteries by 2050, under the plan to cut emissions by 80 per cent by 2050. He wants road transport emissions cut from 130 m tons of CO2 a year to 20
Chris Huhne told the newspaper: “The carbon plan is a road map for a new industrial revolution in which low-carbon electricity powers the economy and protects us from reliance on imports from volatile parts of the world.”
Gaynor Hartnell, of the Renewable Energy Association, a trade body for companies involved in green power, said: “If we are going to meet the 80% carbon reduction target, then we have to transform our power systems. Renewable energy is diffuse and takes a lot more space to generate energy, so we have to accept it will be in our face more and there will be an impact on our landscapes.”
General Electric Co. and Wind Capital Group said Monday that they reached a deal for 228 wind turbines along with operations and maintenance services for a pair of projects in Oklahoma and Kansas.
Financial terms were not disclosed.
Under the agreement, GE will supply 94 of its 1.6-100 wind turbines for the Oklahoma project and 134 of its 1.5-82.5 wind turbines for the Kansas project. The turbines for both projects are scheduled to be delivered in the first half of 2012.
The two new projects will provide more than 350 megawatts of power and increase Wind Capital Group’s U.S. wind power footprint to more than half a gigawatt, GE said.
GE said that the 1.6-100 wind turbine to be used in the Oklahoma project is one of its most advanced. It features a 100-meter rotor diameter and offers a 47 percent increase in swept area, resulting in an 18 percent increase in annual energy production compared with previous models.
The 1.5-82.5 wind turbines to be used in the Kansas project are part of GE’s line of 1.5 machines. More than 16,500 are installed worldwide.
In afternoon trading, GE shares fell 16 cents to $17.76.
A HALF BILLION investment to create up to 600 new jobs at the giant GlaxoSmithKline pharmaceutical plant in Irvine could be in jeopardy after plans to build a wind farm hit turbulence.
The company want to build three huge turbines to generate up to 12 per cent of their power consumption. But North Ayrshire planners gave clearance for just one after objections from the operators of Prestwick Airport. They expressed serious safety concerns amid claims the massive turbines could interfere with radar signals on airport approaches.
Airport owners Infratil said the full go-ahead should only be given when a new radar system is operational by mid 2013. They warned council planners the matter would have to go before the Scottish Parliament if their concerns were ignored. The Irvine site is one of four being considered by GSK for the massive expansion. The company are currently assessing the sites – including another in Scotland and two in England – and expect to take a final decision by the middle of next year.
In a report to the planning committee, the council’s legal boss Ian Mackay said Irvine had to demonstrate its competitiveness. He said: “If the site cannot provide a competitive cost of goods there is a real possibility that this could result in job losses.
“Electricity is the second highest single cost item in the manufacture of antibiotics at the Irvine site.
“The proposed wind turbines will produce approximately 12 per cent of the total electricity consumption on the site. “The workforce has already been slimmed to a lean organisation.”
The planning committee considered a move to refuse the entire application but relented and approved one of the three turbines on Friday. GSK said the wind farm was one of many key components they were undertaking at Irvine. Site director Mark Dawson said: “We recognise energy consumption has implications for product costs.
“The ability to create stability within our energy management programme and to become less reliant on external sources of supply makes good business sense and put us in a much stronger competitive position with overseas suppliers.”The three wind turbines are a vital component of the company’s ambition to reduce the environmental impact and remain cost competitive.
He went on: “Irvine remains one of four sites being considered for the location of a new £500 million plant.
“This assessment will last throughout 2011 and a decision is not expected until mid 2012.”
A spokesman for Prestwick Airport said: “There are a number of factors to be overcome before the system can proceed and a timeline has still to be determined.” But Central Ayrshire MP Brian Donohoe – who fought to ensure Irvine was on the shortleet for the development – fumed: “I don’t understand the council’s logic. These objections came from the airport not National Air Traffic. “They are the ones responsible for aircraft movements. “I will be fighting to ensure Irvine does not lose out on these desperately needed jobs. “North Ayrshire’s decision defies common sense.”
Further interest in Ireland providing a large source of renewable energy was highlighted again today by Charles Hendy, the UK energy minister. He claimed the west coast of Ireland was a prime spot for the development of wind turbines and potential creation of wind farms.
It is a well known fact that Ireland receives a regular flow of high winds and would be highly suitable area for the development of wind turbines. It is due to its low demand for electricity that has caused many to overlook its potential (only 1/10 of UKs demand). However with recent disucssions with the idea of combining the UK and Ireland energy system has caused a strong interest in the potential of renewable energy in Ireland.
Not only would this create additional sustainable energy options it would create many jobs within the construction and engineering fields.
The final decision comes down to the Irish Government and whether they are willing to develop Wind Farms to create sustainable energy options for both Ireland and the UK.