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UK Wants Huge Expansion In Offshore Wind Power 264

Posted by kdawson
from the think-of-the-birds dept.
OriginalArlen writes "The UK government has announced an ambitious plan to expand the existing offshore wind turbine farms, which are already extensive, to an estimated 7,000 units — two per mile of coastline — enough to generate 20% of the UK's power needs by 2020. The newly green-friendly Conservative opposition party is also backing the scheme. Wonder what they'll make of it in Oregon..."
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UK Wants Huge Expansion In Offshore Wind Power

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  • by explosivejared (1186049) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (deraj.nagah)> on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @01:58AM (#21652103)
    Wonder what they'll make of it in Oregon..."

    The situation in Oregon called for the implementation of buoy-like devices to harness wave motion into power. Great Britain is talking about placing windmills offshore. The power generation and science in general is different. The politics of it may be the same though. I'm not qualified to speak about Brit NIMBY's (or I guess NOMSL-not on my shore line), Brit fisherman, or Brit energy lobbyists, as I am an American. I imagine there would be some resistance here, but I not familiar with the situation. On the other hand, wind is a proven tech so who knows. It really just comes down to how powerful the lobbying against this is, as it looks technically feasible and sufficiently beneficial.
  • Story update (Score:5, Informative)

    by OriginalArlen (726444) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @02:39AM (#21652347)
    Since I submitted the story on Sunday, they've actually made the announcement [bbc.co.uk] (on Sunday, it was just being heavily trailed in the press.)
  • Actually, no. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Chas (5144) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @03:11AM (#21652513) Homepage Journal
    The whole "kills lots of birds" things came about because of some very early, very dense wind farms that weren't planned out very well and had smaller, very high-speed blade systems.

    Newer wind turbine systems are larger, slower, better-designed, and more care is usually given to layout of a wind farm so that, while SOME birds are occasionally killed, the numbers are greatly reduced.

    Do some Google searches for "altamont pass" and "wind turbines kill birds".
  • by arivanov (12034) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @03:14AM (#21652523) Homepage
    Close but no cigar. The goal (and it is stated in the report) is to decrease the dependency on foreign energy sources.

    What is interesting here is that it is actually not Britain being afraid of the Gulf going tits up, it is afraid of Russia. Even with the new Norwegian pipeline that came online last year the net North sea gas production is forecast to continue decreasing. As a result the UK which has moved most of its electricity production to gas as has 90% of households using gas will have to start buying gas from the European gas grid which is mostly fed by Russia (though by that time the North African counties may joing it as a secondary supplier). Considering Britain's habit to fund nearly every antigovernment and separatist nut in Russia this will make for an interesting political situation indeed.
  • by nogginthenog (582552) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @03:38AM (#21652623)
    Well the UK already has at least 1 offshore windfarm at Kentish Flats [kentishflats.co.uk]
    Granted it's only 30 turbines.
  • by kaos07 (1113443) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @04:15AM (#21652775)

    Public mood in England is shifting away from Nuclear power following various leaks http://archive.thisisthenortheast.co.uk/2004/6/10/49327.html/ [thisisthenortheast.co.uk] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sellafield#2005_Thorp_plant_leak/ [wikipedia.org]

    Not to mention uranium is a finite source, uses lots of energy to mine and refine, there's no way to deal with the waste long term and plants can be dangerous.

    So why not go with the safer, long term alternative which is wind power?

  • Re:lame modding (Score:3, Informative)

    by Markus Landgren (50350) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @04:42AM (#21652913) Homepage
    You're the one who is lame, and those who understand physics are exactly those who modded the parent to your post as troll.
  • by giafly (926567) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @05:11AM (#21653029)

    Ministers want 20% of Britain's energy needs to come from renewable energy sources by 2020, and see wind power as a major element of it - BBC.
    That 20% figure is for all renewable sources, not just wind. For example a tidal barrage across the Severn River [wikipedia.org] might produce several percent of this.
  • Re:Actually, no. (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @06:45AM (#21653445)
    Wind farms can only generate electricity when the wind is between certain speeds. Too slow or too fast and they are turned off.
  • by saigon_from_europe (741782) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @11:26AM (#21655803)
    First of all, I have 5 yrs university degree in electrical engineering. I have spent couple of years working on frequency regulation of power systems.

    Your intuitive understanding is wrong.

    No it's not. I don't speak about AC circuits, I speak about power/energy balance. I just want to know how you can explain energy balance if we have two power plants that produce more power than user consumes. I don't understand how phase shifting will in long run prevent frequency and voltage to increase (which will lead to increased consumption which will bring system in balance).

    I guess that you had in mind the situation where we have two sine sources where one lags behind the first one. Although they both have same voltage looking from the outside, difference between them still exist due to phase shift. So it seems that you can transfer energy from one source (one power plant) to another phase shifted source (other power plant). But that does not help in our case for a simple reason - you need something that can accept energy and we have plants that can work only as generators. This is not due to electrical machines inside the plant, this is due to turbines that cannot reverse their process.
  • Re:Brits are... (Score:2, Informative)

    by bob.appleyard (1030756) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @12:52PM (#21657411)

    It can mean cigarette. It can also mean homosexual, or young public schoolboys* who have to do menial tasks for older boys, although I don't know whether fagging is an extant practice. It originally was short for faggot/fagot, which is a bundle of sticks or herbs, an ancient means of measurement, and a kind of meatball.

    Truly a versatile word.

    * For those not in the know, a public school in the UK is a privately-run institution, not run by the state. It gets this name because when public schools started, they were open to the public, meaning practically anyone could apply and study there, providing they had the cash.

APL is a write-only language. I can write programs in APL, but I can't read any of them. -- Roy Keir

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