Britain's London Array is world's biggest offshore wind farm

Jul 09, 2013 by Nancy Owano weblog

(Phys.org) —"A great win for Kent, a great win for renewable energy, a great win for Britain," said Prime minister David Cameron in seeing the London Array this month officially become the world's largest offshore wind farm. Located in the Outer Thames Estuary (around 20km off the coasts of Kent and Essex on a 100km site) the wind farm's size outdoes others. With its 450 kilometers of offshore cabling and 175 Siemens 3.6MW turbines rising out of the Thames estuary, this project is said to be a major milestone. The wind farm carries a 630 MW capacity, enough to power 470,000—nearly half a million—homes with electricity per year. The Array has been operational since April, but was officially opened this month in a ceremony at Margate, Kent.

Applauded as a great day for Britain, the project is an especially great day for the group that owns it, a consortium of three renewable companies. Owners are Denmark's DONG Energy, Germany's E.ON and Masdar, of Abu Dhabi. Of the three consortium partners, DONG Energy owns 50 percent, E.ON, 30 percent, and Masdar, 20 percent.

IEEE Spectrum noted that there are about 20 distinct offshore wind farms around the UK and they generate enough power for 2.3 million homes. In all countries, those who favor the wind farm approach see it as a clean domestic resource. In the case of the London Array, the project has the potential to save 925,000 tons of CO2 a year from entering the atmosphere. Supporters, however, represent one side of the discussion.

Wind-farm opponents think this is not the wisest path toward . Those who oppose wind farms raise numerous objections. Some of those who are anti-wind farm stress that the wind farm is an unreliable energy source. Some opponents, including land and property owners, are especially bothered by wind farms as ruining nature's landscapes. Some oppose the noise, and then there are objections concerned about bird deaths. An estimate published in the Wildlife Society Bulletin said over 573,000 birds are killed by each year in the United States, including 83,000 hunting birds such as hawks, falcons and eagles.

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"I estimated 888,000 bat and 573,000 bird fatalities/year (including 83,000 raptor fatalities) at 51,630 megawatt (MW) of installed wind-energy capacity in the United States in 2012. As wind energy continues to expand, there is urgent need to improve fatality monitoring methods, especially in the implementation of detection trials, which should be more realistically incorporated into routine monitoring," said the author, K. Shawn Smallwood.

Explore further: Britain's first poo-powered bus takes to the road

More information: www.londonarray.com/wp-content… fshore-wind-farm.pdf
www.londonarray.com/
onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10… 002/wsb.260/abstract

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grondilu
5 / 5 (1) Jul 09, 2013
Could wind turbines be equipped with a sound-emitting device, on a frequency that birds and bats can easily detect? If they are not smart enough to associate the visual aspect of a wind turbine with danger, maybe sound can help.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (3) Jul 09, 2013
Could wind turbines be equipped with a sound-emitting device, on a frequency that birds and bats can easily detect?

Off shore? No need. No bats (or birds) there to speak of.

The impact of wind farms on bird populations is also pretty negligible compared to other sources. So warnig them away from windfarms won't really doing anything significant for bird populations.
http://science.ho...irds.htm
AngryMoose
not rated yet Jul 09, 2013
They can avoid a tree but not a giant wind turbine? Maybe paint them brown and green?
markb123
not rated yet Jul 09, 2013
What's "electricity per year"?
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Jul 09, 2013
hey can avoid a tree but not a giant wind turbine? Maybe paint them brown and green?

It's not that static parts that (they say) pose a problem.
Wealth
2.6 / 5 (5) Jul 09, 2013
What about the huge amount of CO2 it costs to manufacture all these turbines. Attaching these things securely to the seabed takes a whopping amount of concrete to accomplish. How long will it take for the windfarm to pay for itself, in terms of CO2, before it begins to do the Earth a net favour?
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (5) Jul 09, 2013
How long will it take for the windfarm to pay for itself, in terms of CO2, before it begins to do the Earth a net favour?

You mean as opposed to building large concrete nuclear/coal powerplants? These aren't CO2 free, you know?

IPCC results put wind farms at 12g CO2/kWh (even nuclear, which is said to be 'CO2-free" is at 16g CO2/kWh)
http://en.wikiped..._sources

That's not the entire story because wind will probably need some form of added storage. But when compared to gas (at 469g CO2/kWh) and coal (at 1001g CO2/kWh) we're still dealing with a net benefit. (And nuclear disqualifies itself for other, obvious, reasons)
NikFromNYC
1 / 5 (7) Jul 09, 2013
As infrastructure crumbles now we are to add inaccessible high voltage towers to the middle of stormy salt water? And "nuclear disqualifies itself" even though the whole biosphere is threatened! Nuclear provides near 80% of electricity in France, wind a fraction of a percent. Maintaining a single nuclear plant must be compared to a single storm's effect on the equivalent 1000 or is it 6000 windmills. But there's no money to be made by political insiders from good old nuclear power like there very much is in the bizarre financial instruments of subsidized "alternative" energy.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (2) Jul 10, 2013
As infrastructure crumbles now we are to add inaccessible high voltage towers to the middle of stormy salt water?

You might have heard of these new-fangled inventions called "power lines".
And oceans aren't always (or not even most of the time) stormy. You should get out more often. Try a trip to the sea once in your lifetime.

Nuclear provides near 80% of electricity in France, wind a fraction of a percent.

So? That is the choice of France (since they have easy access to uranium via their former colonies - a rather special/unique case).
Maintaining a single nuclear plant must be compared to a single storm's effect on the equivalent 1000 or is it 6000 windmills.

Funny how these windmills have been weathering these storms just fine for the past 20 years, isn't it?

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