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Ship Shortage Could Slow Wind Power

Like the rest of Europe, the UK has a Kyoto-level ambitious renewable energy plan to reduce its CO2 emissions 20% below 1990 levels by 2020. As part of achieving this, the island nation plans to build an astonishing 32 Gigawatts of off-shore wind by 2020, enough to supply a quarter of its electricity.

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However, a “lack of investment in the vessels used to build offshore wind farms could hinder Britain’s ambitions to shift to renewable energy”, E.ON UKs Robin Rigg told Reuters. He is the head of one of the leading companies in the consortium of companies meeting the UK’s 32 Gigawatt target.

It will take an armada of vessels to get the huge parts of modern turbines out into the North Sea to deploy them in off-shore wind farms. In today’s world, the supply chain is lacking. There are not enough ships that can carry turbines, and building these ships will take a huge investment.

A massive ramp-up in shipbuilding will be needed to get this much wind power developed.

It is not just ships we are short of. Port infrastructure needs major revamping to handle wind turbines. Gigantic European wind turbines are some of the largest commercial items to ever go through British ports – some have blades that exceed two hundred feet in length.

That is because European wind farms increasingly use turbines that generate over 5 MW. As new farms are built, it is now increasingly rare for Europe to use turbines under 2 MW each.  To cope with these kinds of sizes, the British government is now also taking bids for revamping its port infrastructure itself – in the form of a competition offering $96 million to the successful contractor to build it.

Image: Flikr user frogdog*

Source: Electricity Forum

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writes at CleanTechnica, CSP-Today and Renewable Energy World.  She has also been published at Wind Energy Update, Solar Plaza, Earthtechling PV-Insider , and GreenProphet, Ecoseed, NRDC OnEarth, MatterNetwork, Celsius, EnergyNow, and Scientific American. As a former serial entrepreneur in product design, Susan brings an innovator's perspective on inventing a carbon-constrained civilization: If necessity is the mother of invention, solving climate change is the mother of all necessities! As a lover of history and sci-fi, she enjoys chronicling the strange future we are creating in these interesting times.    Follow Susan on Twitter @dotcommodity.

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