New £2bn Wind Farm Is ‘Big Win For Britain’

July 4, 2013 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

By Emma Birchley, East Of England Correspondent

The world’s biggest offshore wind farm has been inaugurated by the Prime Minister during a visit to Margate.

The 175 giant turbines of the London Array rise from the outer Thames Estuary between the coasts of Kent and Essex and can generate enough energy to power nearly half a million homes.

Speaking at the launch, David Cameron described it as a “big win for Britain”.

“What it shows is Britain is a great country to come and invest in,” he said. “It’s meant jobs for local people and it means clean, green energy for half a million homes in our country.

“It’s part of what we need to have secure reliable supplies of electricity.”

London Array wind farm in Margate, Kent
Campaigners do not think it is money will spent

The UK is leading the way in offshore wind power and much more investment is expected as the UK pushes to create 30% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020.

The London Array’s project director Richard Rigg does not expect it to remain the largest for long as the new, bigger “round three” wind farms are built further out to sea.

He said: “There are more offshore wind farms here than in the rest of Europe and the wind resource we have got is absolutely superb and we should be using it.

“This is seen very much as the stepping stone very much from what has gone before and what the future will be.”

But the London Array has cost £2bn, and there are plenty of critics like anti-wind farm campaigner Matt Ridley who argue that money is wasted.

London Array wind farm in Margate, Kent
Some of the 175 giant turbines of the London Array

He said: “The Government agreed last week that for offshore wind it’s going to pay £155 per megawatt hour for the electricity and £100 for onshore.

“Now that’s the cost you and I are going to have to pay through our electricity bills and that’s about three times what we pay for our electricity now.

“I just don’t think it’s realistic to build an enormous amount of this stuff all across the country and expect us all to pay that much for the electricity.”

Leanne Breach works in Margate and loves to look out at the turbines but, as someone who enjoys sea fishing, has concerns.

She said: “Sometimes it can scare the fish because obviously the noise just makes them travel away.”

But Andrew James who lives and works in Margate can see the benefits.

He said: “If we all want to use electricity and we don’t want to use the older methods which are dirty and unclean and create problems then we have got to try different methods to create electricity.”

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