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UK Offshore Wind Development

UK Transforms North Sea into Renewable Energy Hub

By Sam Schrader   

There's been some great news over the past few weeks for the British offshore wind industry.

British Prime Minister David Cameron recently stated 20 companies have signed a deal to transform the North Sea into a massive renewable energy hub. According to a report by Reuters, Cameron believes Britain’s North Sea has the ability to be a world leader in offshore wind and carbon capture/storage technology.

Companies ranging from utility giants like Scottish Power and Statoil and manufacturers like Siemens and Gamesa are all coming together to develop the North Sea’s offshore wind power under one name: Norstec.

The carbon storage aspect of the North Sea venture is the most difficult part to put into action. Storing carbon under the sea has yet to be proven in commercial terms in the UK, but Norway and Canada have both found ways to store gas in offshore fields. One way to make money from the carbon storage system for the UK is to sell carbon storage space to other countries.

The North Sea figures to be a massive part of Britain’s plan to install 18 GW of offshore wind power by 2020. As of this writing, Britain currently has 2 GW of offshore wind currently in operation.

In addition to the North Sea project, Britain’s largest power producer EDF joined forces with Dutch power company Eneco to develop a large wind project off the south coast of the UK. The Navitus Bay Offshore Wind Project will be split 50-50 between the two companies.

This particular project should have a maximum output of 900-1200 MW, enough to power over 820,000 homes, and eliminate 1.2 million tons of CO2 annually.

EDF and Eneco are aiming to have their planning application to the Infrastructure Planning Commission by late 2013.

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