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UK Approves Construction of 1.3GW of Offshore Wind Power Capacity

The UK has given the green light for the construction of the world’s largest wind farm—the London Array—to be built in the Thames estuary off the Kent coast.

The consent gives the go-ahead for the offshore sections of the 1,000MW wind farm which, if built, will displace nearly 2 million tonnes of CO2 a year. The wind farm would generate enough electricity to power 750,000 homes, equivalent to a quarter of Greater London’s households or every home in Kent and East Sussex.

The proposed wind farm would be situated midway between the Kent and Essex coastlines, more than 20 km (12 miles) from each shore. It would consist of up to 271 turbines, installed on the Long Sand and Kentish Knock banks and in the Knock Deep channel that lies between. It will occupy an area of up to 245km2 in water depths ranging from 0 to 23 m.

The consent for the onshore substation, necessary to connect London Array into the national grid, remains outstanding and will now be subject to a Public Inquiry.

This is a significant step forward in the development of the London Array offshore wind farm. The UK Government has a target of 10% of energy generation from renewables by 2010 and an aspiration to double that by 2020; to help reach these targets it is imperative that large scale wind farms such as London Array get the go-ahead and are built in the not too distant future.

—Andrew Murfin, a Director of London Array Limited

The London Array consortium is made up of E.ON UK, Shell WindEnergy Ltd and CORE Ltd, a joint venture between Farm Energy, the originator of the project and DONG Energy.

Approval was also given for the Thanet offshore wind project—a 300MW array to be located approximately 11 km to the east of Margate, Kent. The development may be in place by 2008.

(A hat-tip to Chris!)



I can see this as a model for other coastal cities, with adequate wind energy potential. Siting them 12 or more miles offshore will minimise land's effects on wind speed/quality, and allay some aesthetic concerns.


This is great news, an excellent project. I read an article recently indicating that the local coastal municipality (council) where the substation needs to be built refused planning permission! Does anyone know if they have now allowed it?


"and allay some aesthetic concerns"

You know I always wondered about those people who think windmills are ugly. What do they think is beautiful? The alternatives like coal and oil fired plants? Add in the telephone poles, streetlights, high voltage lines and cellphone towers that litter our landscape?

I visited a friend who lives near a 750kw wind turbine and its a beautiful piece of functional art. IMHO


Personally, I do not have a problem with a massive wind turbine-quiet and well designed/built/maintained-in view of where I live (LaGuardia Airport and PA NY&NJ will disagree). However, many monied, connected, and or vocal seaside residents like their views. NIMBY is the shorthand, and often around where the proposed sites in the NorthEast, supposed liberals-who stress environmental issues-often oppose these projects.
_There are some merits to arguments against, like the Dept of Defense. They do not like clutter in exercise areas, and may fear destroying/damaging a structure in an errant missile test, or collision with vessels/low flying aircraft. However, operating in dense cluttered litoral areas is the future, and the military might as well get used to it, and train in realistic environments.


Allen, agreed that the wind turbine is a preferable aesthetic to a coal powered plant. In the U.S. Northeast there is a presumed liberal reaction to a wind project that has gone forward without investigating other alternatives. We now have several wave action generators coming online and in wind turbines vs wave action - wave action wins hands down on economics and uninhibited airspace. I would be interested to see a comparative cost analysis for a 1Gw system of wave v. wind.

Of course, either way we are far ahead of power that gouges the earth's crust for coal requiring exotic scrubbing technology to clean it up.


^^^True. Good way of looking at it.^^^

I will say, however, that the military does have valid concerns when it comes to radar interference. Large wind turbine installations would provide excellent cover for a low flying cruise missile.

But who do we fight who has the capability to deliver such a weapon? If they do, it would be one-and-done. In the nuclear age, it doesn't make sense to commit to a sustained attack against a country such as the U.S. with conventional weapons.


The open ocean winds have worked for large sailing ships for a long time, it should work for large wind turbines.

Robert Schwartz

Robert Kennedy Jr., who bills himself as an "environmentalist," has led the opposition to a wind project off Cape Cod that might be visible from his family's house. Of course, he is a Kennedy, so nobody in the mass media will question him about the blatant hypocrisy.


Wind farms would have a very regular signature with pieces moving at predictable speeds.  A cruise missile moving at a different speed or in a different place will still stand out.  I suppose if you can pace the blade tips you might be able to hide in the clutter - rotsa ruck!


A good resource page for Ocean Wave Energy:


Let's see, no underwater platforms to build, no spinning blades to irritate mil, no airspace intrusion, OEM costs far below turbines...

Gee, maybe those guys in the North East are on to something.

Max Reid


World's wind energy capacity is around 71,000 MW now.
3 countries have 10,000 + MW
13 countries have 1,000 + MW
26 countries have 100 + MW

Its progressing rapidly.

For those who think that its ugly, please note that it does not look like a dragon / monster. Its just a tall fan. Yes the wave energy is also going to progress.

And the fastest growing source of fuel is Coal. Future will be coal vs renewables while nat-gas & nuclear playing supplemental role.


You can put Canada in with those which have 1000 + MW.
We doubled our capacity this year to 1341 MW and our goal is 10,000 + MW by 2015.

Crossing my fingers on that one.



The site you quote has a bit of a credibility problem. They are thorough on alternative energy, but they hurt the cause by including every batshit crazy idea that some quack comes up with - they present HUNDREDS of laws-of-physics violations as if each and every one is the easy, ignored solution to all the world's problem. Wave energy is in its infancy, and is HIGHLY localized, down to the generator.

Greg Woulf

Wave vs wind is a silly argument when 80% of our energy comes from non-renewables.

They should install any and all renewable energy sources that pay for themselves. Wave and wind definitely pay for themselves and there are others that are slowly being proven as cost effective.

Max Reid

Yes, the Wave vs Wind is a silly argument.
Thats the way, the Oil companies play by pitting Wind against Nuclear.

Definitely Big Oil is going to be dumped by King Coal while the renewables make a steady 20 % growth every year.

Luckily Brazil is a newcomer is the Wind industry and they have installed 200 MW in 2006 taking their total to 206 MW.

Just like they scored big in Ethanol and CNG vehicles, we can expect them to score in Wind also in the near future.

A Siegel

1. Wind vs Wave -- I wonder, actually, what the tidal/wave activity is in some of the areas with offshore wind-turbines. Wouldn't it make sense, if there is decent tidal/wave activity, to have a win-win situation with the installation of a grid/transmission system from these offshore areas to put in some ocean power generation systems along with the wind turbines?

2. Comment about Cape Wind: Yes, Kennedy was the most visible opponent -- and was called out for it in, I believe, minor papers like the NY Times, Washington Post, and Boston Globe discussed this (and had OPEDs, even editorials). For example, from the Boston Globe, see: http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2006/04/30/kennedy_caught_in_crosswind/?page=2 . Also, the Washington Times: http://www.washtimes.com/op-ed/20060413-090902-7716r.htm .

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