Blimey! That’s a Massive Wind Farm!
In Kent, England this past Thursday, September 23rd 2010, the world’s largest off-shore wind farm began its first day of electricity generation. The $(US) 1.2 billion project puts the UK on the map as the largest producer of wind energy (as of 2008 this title had been held by the US) and on target to reduce the country’s dependence on fossil fuels 35% by 2020.
Thanet Wind-Farm has over 100 turbines, all of which are at least 12km (7.5 miles) from shore and therefore barely visible except on the clearest of days. Furthermore, the tourism industry is thrilled for the opportunities this site brings in attracting visitors. Boat tours can bring people up close to the large turbines and these curious travelers will now be drawn to this area even more than before. This can only mean positive things for the restaurant, hotel, and transportation businesses.
Skeptics continue to question the reliability of wind power, especially with the lack of an effective fuel cell for storing the produced energy. Many would like to see more diversification in England’s renewable energy sources. According to Chris Huhne, the UK’s Climate Change and Energy Secretary, this is an issue to which he and his team have already given serious consideration. Huhne says he would like to see the UK, “…harness our wind, wave and tidal resources to the maximum.” Before long, perhaps we will start to see even more off-shore renewable energy projects popping up around the British Isles.