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Published on June 26th, 2015 | by Joshua S Hill


Amber Rudd Openly Supports Offshore Wind, Says ‘Enough’ Onshore

June 26th, 2015 by  

The UK’s newly placed Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Amber Rudd, has confirmed there is “enough onshore wind” and that she and her department are “determined” to back the offshore wind industry.

Speaking at the RenewableUK Offshore Wind Conference, Amber Rudd was quick to praise the offshore wind energy sector, focusing on the impressive level of growth that has taken place over the past 15 years and the UK offshore wind sector’s global pre-eminence.

offshore wind farm UK“The last 15 years has seen a phenomenal growth in British offshore wind,” she said. “By the end of this year we are expecting 30 offshore wind farm developments to be contributing to Britain’s energy security.

“Almost 1,500 turbines with the capacity to provide over 5 GW of home produced, clean electricity — enough to power the equivalent of almost 4 million homes. In the last 5 years alone, the amount of electricity being produced from offshore wind has more than quadrupled.”

As a result of these highlights, the UK now has “the most operational offshore wind … than anywhere else in the world.”

However, despite RenewableUK’s pleas earlier this month to rethink cutting onshore wind support, “urging the Government to think carefully before it implements any cuts in financial support to onshore wind,” Ms. Rudd made it all the more clear that there is very little hope onshore wind will receive financial support from the recently re-elected Conservative Government.

“We already have enough onshore wind in the pipeline to hit the middle of the range we need for that technology. We need to continue investing in less mature technologies so that they realise their promise, just as onshore wind has done.”

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  • JamesWimberley

    Misleading headline. Rudd did not say there was enough onshore wind already. She said there was enough in the pipeline to meet targets. The new hands-off policy on planning permission means that the pace of unsubsidised development is out of her hands.

  • Fred Ward

    The UK conservative government is in the pockets of the big nuclear and fossil fuel companies and they will do everything they can to slow down the progress of renewable energy.

  • eveee

    UK has its priorities backwards. Nuclear and offshore are most expensive. The real reason for cutting back onshore is political. NIMBY. Most of the onshore is in rural Scotland, but the backlash is in England, not Scotland.

    • Aku Ankka

      On plus side, UK focus on offshore (assuming they really put money where their mouth is) could do the same for offshore wind as what Germany’s PV push did for PV panels: make it cost-effective. If so, it would be a good deal for the rest of the world, enabling cost-efficient offshore wind located near usage — like, say, US East Coast! — but not such a good deal for UK that pioneers it.

      At the end of the day, it could be that for bigger picture this development may not be as bad as it is for UK tactical situation.
      I realize that situation is quite different from PV, where ramping up of manufacturing was simpler; but the basic idea of bigger demand creating bigger supply, leading to significant cost improvements is valid.

  • Dag Johansen

    Both are needed. Onshore is much cheaper. Offshore costs much more but has a better capacity factor.

    • Matt

      But the UK government looks to want to by the most expensive non-FF it can. I push Hinkley and wants to stop on shore wind. Yes keep doing off-shore,but don’t ban on shore just because it is cheaper.

  • Brian

    I think Britain has room to expand a little more on onshore wind, and put a few more turbines on farms. I realize land is limited, but their is room for a small expansion of wind farms. Farmers get paid revenue from the turbines, and they don’t pollute like natural gas fracking operations that poison the water, or nuclear power plants, that produce nuclear waste which must be stored for 100,000 years. However their is a limit to how many turbines they can have due to limited space and Torre nimbyism. Japan is developing floating wind turbine technology.. Britain should try to also develop the technology for floating wind turbines, and deploy them around their island nation. The UK should build 20 more massive offshore wind farms like the London Array, ramp up their solar and wave power, and show the world, that like Scotland, they can get 100% of their electricity from clean renewable energy.

    • John Moore

      With conservatives in charge, there is no chance of showing the world anything except how to block progress. They are more hostile to renewable energy than they say. Look for blocking of anything that makes energy sense from this government.

      • Calamity_Jean


    • MrL0g1c

      They don’t need to be floating, the sea’s not very deep around most of Britain.

      But anyway, we and the rest of the world should be investing heavily into geothermal, it’s the renewable energy which is the most useful and the most consistent. What I’d like to know is how much geothermal energy would be available if we dug deeper and on much bigger scales.

      • Larmion

        Geothermal can work anywhere if you go deep enough – which is costly. There is a caveat though: most heat reservoirs are low enthalphy (80-120°C).

        That’s perfect for district heating, but not great for power generation. It can be done, for example through an organic rankine cycle. The problem is that the efficiency of such a cycle is low, often under 10%. That makes it expensive.

        There is a compromise that’s rapidly gaining ground, at least in Europe. An organic rankine cycle can be used to extract a small amount of power (<5MW) from a geothermal well. The waste heat that's left is still more than hot enough to run a district heating system, since the cycle is so inefficient that the temperature barely drops.

        These power stations can't power the world, but they hugely reduce carbon emissions through renewable heating and also aid in dealing with intermittent renewables.

        • Matt

          The big payback on these systems is the district heating, so they are most useful where heating is the big energy draw in that region. They are not very useful where AC is the big draw. There district cooling is what helps, and for all those cities need cold ocean currents “cold geothermal” make much more $ and sense.

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