Wednesday, 5 January 2011

The largest windfarm in the world?

Construction will begin next year on one of the largest offshore windfarms in the world, led by RWE Innogy, and is expected to be completed in 2014.

The £2 billion Gwynt y Mor windfarm will consist of 160 wind turbines around 10 miles off the north Wales coast near to Colwyn Bay and Llandudno. It is claimed that around 1,000 jobs will be created by the project.

Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan said: "This is excellent news. Gwynt y Mor will be one of the single biggest private investment projects ever seen in Wales, creating up to 1,000 quality jobs and contributing many millions of pounds to the regional economy of north Wales.

"It will also become one of the largest offshore windfarm projects in Europe, able to provide enough clean, green electricity to power the equivalent of around 400,000 homes.”

"Surrounded by wind, wave and tidal resources, we are in a prime position to be able to benefit from investment in the green economy whilst making a significant contribution to the UK government's carbon reduction targets through safe, clean renewable means."

The project has, however, been opposed by some people in Llandudno who claimed it would destroy the resort's views out to sea and that wind energy was unreliable. Which brings us back to our often cited counterargument – where would the protestors like their electricity to come from? Imported foreign oil from countries such as Saudi Arabia and Iran? Nuclear power stations (presumably not on their own doorstep)? Or from burning dirty coal? Finally, what happens when fossil fuels run out? (Yes, fossil fuels are finite unlike wind).

UK Energy Secretary Chris Huhne said: "This is the first of what I hope will be many examples of how we can make the most of our island's huge renewable energy potential. I want to make sure we grab all the opportunities the rapidly expanding renewables industry has to offer, and that wind power can come of age under this government."

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