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London Array Appears to Maintain Government Targets

3rd August, 2012

Britain’s biggest project against climate change is well on its way to completion. The £1.7 billion project is the result of the UK’s step towards a greener future.

The development known as the London Array is located off the coast of Essex in the Thames Estuary, where the offshore area of 100km2 is set to hold 175 turbines when complete, which will in turn produce 1,000 MW of electricity and the capability of powering over 750,000 homes. Furthermore the project will reduce CO2 emissions by 1.4 million tonnes per year and has contributed to the government target of reducing emissions by 34% by 2020. The project, which is divided into two phases, is predicted to be finished by spring 2013, with the first phase to be complete by the end of 2012. By the completion of phase one the wind farm will produce 630MW of energy, powering 470,000 homes and offsetting carbon emissions by 925,000 tonnes yearly. The London Array is due to be connected to the National Grid once completed in 2013.

The project is funded by the world leaders in renewable energy, Dong energy, who own 50% of the farm, whilst E-on own 30% and Masdar the remaining 20%. The companies are not only putting up the funds but are also putting their experience and expertise into the development to produce the world’s largest offshore wind farm.

In the past 15 years government policies have changed and have recognised the importance of controlling the effects that communities have on the environment. The UK government has taken this on board and has set personal objectives for itself. For instance, in 2002 the Renewables Obligation was introduced and set in place to encourage energy suppliers to provide a percentage of sales to come from renewable sources through the ROC schemes which has resulted in an increase in the amount of renewable energy used.  Furthermore the UK signed the EU’s RED which states that the UK’s target for 2020 is that at least 15% of its energy should be generated from renewable sources. With the increasing amount of both on-shore and off-shore wind farms being constructed, and Britain exploiting its advantages in both wind and hydro power, this target is anticipated to be hit. Other guidelines include the Energy Act of 2010 and the Climate Change Act of 2008, an approved legislation that introduces the legally binding framework to tackle the issue of climate change. The act is set to manage and respond to the climate change in the UK as follows:

  • Setting ambitious targets
  • Keeping to set targets
  • Strengthening the institutional framework
  • Developing the UK’s ability to adapt to the impact of environmental change
  • Establishing clear and regular accountability of UK Parliament and the devolved legislatures

Due to technological advances in wind turbines, they are essentially becoming more effective. In phase one of the London Array, the turbines produce 3.6 MW but by the final phase they will generate 5.6 MW, showing how quickly this industry is developing. By the time the turbines need to be replaced their productivity will be significantly improved. Although some argue that we will never be able to produce enough renewable energy to meet our needs, the government is confident that with the advances of technology and the increase in awareness surrounding climate change we will be able to reach current and future targets. The concept of renewable energy is growing more fashionable in current times, proving that Britain’s green future is set to be a success.