What began two years ago as a plan to bring cleaner energy to the coast of Kent area has now become a reality, and a big one at that. In June, a project that amounted to the world’s largest offshore wind farm saw completion of its first phase. The wind turbines currently in place will begin turning and producing electricity today.
The Swedish energy company Vattenfall reported that the 100 turbines will generate enough electricity to power 240,000 family homes. It is located 12 km off Foreness Point in Thanet. The project cost Vattenfall 780 million pounds.
While there are 100 functioning turbines ready to go, there are more to be added. In the next four years 341 more turbines will join the others in supplying cleaner energy to the region. The 100 turbines currently cover 35 sq km and are 115 meters tall (380 ft.).
The UK currently has around 260 wind farms. The total operational number of wind turbines producing electricity is 2,909. Britain is now the largest producer of electricity from off shore wind turbines than that of the rest of the globe put together. There is enough wind power that at full capacity power can be generated for 3 million homes.
The government has set goals to produce one third of its electrical power needs from renewables by the year 2020. While the turbines cut down on emissions there are environmental critics of the wind power program. Many believe the 380 foot tall turbines are taking away from the beauty of UK’s landscapes.
Others believe the program is too costly. Dr. Benny Peiser of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, said: “It’s a complete waste of money. It costs three times as much to generate electricity from offshore wind and the cost is passed to taxpayers and in fuel bills.
“And you need to back up wind farms with fossil fuel power stations when there’s no wind blowing.
“Economically it doesn’t make sense and the savings in carbon emissions are not as great as their supporters claim.”
Despite critics, the government plans to continue on its quest to provide renewable energy and companies are willing to make the investment in wind power. The turbines are in place, more are to come, and new ones will begin to turn today outside of Kent.