Wind Measurement
Wind Measurement
Offshore Wind Farms

Wind Measurement International are partnering with SeaCore to provide a one-stop service for installation of off-shore wind monitoring hardware. WMI's extensive experience of unguyed lattice towers, together with SeaCore's world leading ability to install offshore foundation monopiles.

All our marine-grade installations include satellite communication systems and remote power supplies. WMI supplies additional sensors for the offshore market to fully characterise the marine environment in terms of wave height and tidal currents.

The first example of an off-shore wind farm on a large scale in the UK was North Hoyle. This was commissioned December 2003 with a second at Scroby Sands opened a year later. These two large scale off shore wind farms were followed by what is still the world's largest offshore wind farm, at Kentish Flats in 2005. The Kentish Flats wind farm produces 90 MW which together with Blyth Offshore (a pilot project) means that the UK is producing a total of 213.80 MW through offshore wind farms all around the UK coast. But there is plenty of space for expansion.

As an island, the UK is well placed to benefit from offshore wind farms. Although any country with a coastline is able to take advantage of the stronger, winds over the sea. In the UK, offshore wind farms are expected to become a major contributor towards future targets for renewable electricity. Because of its position in the jet stream, in the UK off shore wind energy is increasingly taken seriously by energy producers in the UK. Some of the companies getting involved in expanding the UK offshore electricity generation include the largest multinational utility companies. There are a large number of off shore sites in various stages of development, with 954 MW worth of capacity already with planning permission. The Crown Estate is initiating a second round of developments with a total target output of 7.2 GW. This is the equivalent of 7% of the current UK supply. As of 2010, offshore wind farms supply 4% of the Government's targets for the production of energy from renewable sources.

Because of the relatively shallow waters and strong winds across a large swath of the North Sea. Britain is uniquely positioned to take advantage of off shore wind energy. However, there are many other countries which would benefit from greater investment into offshore wind farms.

The History of Offshore Wind Farms in the UK

Offshore wind farms were first seriously proposed for the UK during the 1970s, when the wind energy industry was still in its very early stages. Following the Denmark's lead with the worlds first offshore wind farms in Denmark, the UK followed in 1996 with two applications being made under the now defunct NFFO support scheme for renewable energy. These developments were constructed off the east coast; Gunfleet Sands, Essex and Blyth, Northumberland. It was another four years before Blyth Offshore was commissioned to become the first operational offshore wind farm in the UK.

The benefits of the UK's wind resource is absolutely vast. An area of sea the size of Greater London would provide sufficient capacity to meet 10% of the electricity needs of the UK's.

The Crown Estate advertised for developers seeking to lease sites for offshore wind farms in December 2000. There was a tremendous response to this proposal and far, far more applications were submitted than the Crown Estate had anticipated. The successful developers were announced in April 2001 along with their sites. This was only the first round of UK Offshore WInd Development, and there were a total of 18 sites around the UK with up to thirty turbines each.

A consultation with people with an interest was set up by the Government. This included fishermen, coastal tourist boards and bird protection groups. The Environmental Council, as a third party mediator, was central in the high levels of consent given, and resulted in the creation of Best Practice Guidelines for developing offshore wind energy sites.

Shortly after the first round of development had begun, the New Opportunities Fund announced a series of capital grants for developing offshore wind farms. Projects which met the criteria we awarded grants of up to £10m. This would form approximately 10% of the project costs, on condition of the beginning of construction.

Over the past decade, many of these projects have changed hands or been merged. As of early 2006, there were four wind farms operating in the UK, producing clean power.

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