UK offshore wind capacity passes 2.5GW with Sheringham Shoal launch
London, 27 September (Argus) — The 317MW Sheringham Shoal wind farm off the coast of Norfolk, eastern England, officially opened today, helping push UK installed wind capacity close to 2.7GW.
The first turbine at the wind farm, which Norwegian state-run firms Statkraft and Statoil own, was connected to the grid in August 2011 and the project was scheduled for completion at the end of the same year. But unfavourable winter weather conditions delayed installation, and the final turbine was installed only in July.
The launch follows the opening of Swedish state-controlled utility Vattenfall's 150MW Ormonde wind farm off the coast of Cumbria, northwestern England, on 19 September and the 500MW Greater Gabbard wind farm, a joint venture between UK utility SSE and Germany's RWE, off the Suffolk coast on 7 September. The openings raise the UK's offshore wind capacity to 2.67GW.
“The capacity of the three offshore wind farms which have either officially opened or gone operational this month has added very nearly 1GW in September alone,” the chief executive of industry body RenewableUK, Maria McCaffery, said. “The UK has more capacity installed offshore than the rest of the world put together
In just one month, we have been given a glimpse of what is possible — as long as a stable climate for investors is maintained. That is why we are calling on the government to ensure that the right framework is in place as the energy bill makes its way through parliament.”
The UK's installed onshore wind capacity surpassed 5GW this month as US utility AES' 28.6MW Scottish Borders project started operations. Wind generation has reached record highs above 4GW in recent weeks, helping reduce day-ahead electricity prices.
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