Wind is a clean, abundant and renewable source of energy and is the fastest-growing source of electricity generation in the world today. With a free fuel source and mature technology it is set to become a major energy source.
The British Wind Energy Association, the trade and professional body for the UK wind industry, aims to promote the use of wind power in and around the UK, both onshore and offshore. The UK has the greatest wind resource in Europe, just waiting to be developed, says the British Wind Energy Association?s chief executive Marcus Rand
Wind technology has come to the forefront of the energy sector over the past seven years. Why is that?
The need to dramatically reduce our carbon emissions, combined with the need to replace existing fossil and nuclear power stations has created a carbon-free power gap. There is a clear consensus that renewables will be at the forefront of closing this gap over the coming years. Wind, onshore, is the most economic of the available renewables and also the most technologically mature renewable for large-scale deployment. This is, of course, closely followed by offshore wind. As a result we are confident that wind alone will be providing some 7% of the UK?s power by 2010.
What are the key strengths of the UK wind industry?
The UK has the best wind resource in Europe and it?s industry is therefore extremely active in developing on and offshore projects. This year (2005) will be a record year with over 500 megawatts (MW) of projects being deployed and thousands more MW being readied for deployment. There are many strengths to call on in the UK wind sector: membership of our Association includes companies active in manufacturing, project development, financing of projects, component supply, project installation and ongoing maintenance of projects.
|The UK has the best wind resource in Europe|
What is the UK position regarding CO2 emission and climate change and how is this refl ected regarding wind energy?
The UK government has a target of reducing C02 emissions by 20% by 2020. Currently it?s only on track to reduce them by 14%. As a result it is undertaking a comprehensive review of what additional measures it can implement to ensure it reaches the 20 per cent goal. The British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) is urging the Government to provide additional support to offshore wind energy to ensure that the significant amount of carbon savings that our industry could deliver through offshore projects materialise by 2010.
How does the BWEA promote itself both onshore and offshore?
The BWEA has a long-established and well-respected voice in representing the UK wind industry, and more recently the marine renewable technologies. We carry out regular seminars and workshops for local planners and councillors regarding energy and planning policy in the UK. We hold regular briefings on various aspects of the development of our industry in Parliament, and we also lobby as needed on specific issues to ensure the continued successful development of our industry. In addition we recently launched a national campaign, ?Embrace the Revolution?, to debunk some of the myths surrounding wind energy and to ensure that the voice of the majority who support our technology is heard in the current energy debate.
Regarding the competitive international renewable market, how does the UK maintain its position at the forefront of this growing sector?
The UK is in the fortunate position to have not only one of the best wind resources in Europe, but also a strong government target and a robust and long-term market mechanism to bring forward increasing amounts of renewable electricity into the future ? the Renewables Obligation. The key is for the government to set long-term policy and provide confidence to the industry and the financial markets so that the policy instruments that are being utilised will be maintained well into the future.
What is the government?s attitude to wind technology/refunding, promotion etc?
The UK government has a positive approach to ensuring a diverse and sustainable portfolio of renewable generating technologies in the UK. In addition to the market legislation of the Renewables Obligation, government also has specific funding streams for the less market ready renewable technologies, provided through Research & Development (R&D) funding and capital grants, worth approximately £500 million between 2002 and 2008.
Through its Renewables Trade Promotion Service, the government undertakes events around the world, ensuring that the strengths of UK companies are recognised, as well as attracting inward investment into UK projects. Government also promotes renewables at home through its ?It?s Only Natural? information campaign, which includes Regional Heartlands Tour, for both public and businesses alike.
What innovations have the renewable/ wind markets seen in the last 18 months?
The UK wind industry reached a significant landmark in June with the installation of over 1,000 MW of wind capacity - making it one of only eight countries in the world to have surpassed this figure. One of the strengths which will add significantly to achieving the second gigawatt of wind is the increased rate of deployment of the industry offshore. Three of the Round 1 offshore wind farms are now generating electricity for the grid, a fourth is currently under construction and continued progress in the sector means that sometime in 2006, the UK is likely to be come the world?s number-one offshore wind generator. Among the many innovations accompanying the development of our offshore wind industry is the construction of the first ever specialist vessel for the installation of offshore wind turbines.
The MPI Resolution is virtually self-sufficient, and is a unique mix of a ship, a fl oating crane, a dynamic positioning system (DP) and self-elevating unit, able to convey and deploy 10 full sets of turbines and foundations during each trip. One of the tasks of the MPI Resolution has been the installation of the first 3 MW offshore wind turbines in the UK, a size which is likely to be exceeded next year with the deepwater wind farm demonstrator project adjacent to the Talisman operated Beatrice Field, 25 kilometres off the east coast of Scotland. Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm will see 2 x 5 MW machines ? the largest to be installed offshore in the world to date, installed in some 35-40m water depth ? twice as deep as any offshore wind installation has so far achieved.
Regarding the Government New Energy policy and the targets of 10% of the UK?s electricity supply by 2010, are we on track? And are other governments abroad setting the same targets?
Our targets are within reach. Progress onshore is good and we are confident that some 4 GW of wind power will be operational onshore by end of 2010. Key to meeting our contribution to the renewables target (7% of the 10%) is our progress offshore. Major projects in excess of 1 GW are required to be operational in the next 5-6 years. This will require a huge effort from government and industry to ensure that the current challenges facing the offshore sector are overcome. We are confident that with adequate support the UK wind industry will have some 7-8 GW of capacity operating by the end of 2010.
Is there any collaboration with the international markets? And are other countries seeking partnership with the UK?
The UK?s favourable combination of wind resource, strong offshore regime and the extension of the relevant legislation, the Renewables Obligation, to 15% by 2015 means that we are presently identified as the best market for offshore wind energy in the world1, and among the top five for renewables in general. There is therefore, strong international interest in investing in the UK, and equally collaboration on policy issues with the relevant associations and stakeholders around the world. Additional collaboration comes through EU renewable energy policy, the Intelligent Energy: Europe Programme, the International Energy Agency and the US?UK Energy Dialogue. 1.Ernst & Young (2005), Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Indices August 2005.
For more information visit www.bwea.com