Britain Blows Wind Power Forward

Britain has stepped onto the global energy stage and become the largest producer of power from wind technology, outstripping countries like Denmark (19% wind) and Spain (9% wind). Off the coast of Skegness they have set up a wind array that generates enough energy to power 130,000 homes — quite a feat, considering the vast patches of land that wind power requires in order to be effective (you could fit an airplane between the tips of the blades of these turbines).

The UK has been making major moves to become the leader in world wind production, adding batches of turbines over the last several years. Another set, at the Whitelee farm, brought the UK’s total energy capacity (from wind technologies) up to 3 Gigawatt hours. To put that into perspective, that is enough energy to power 1.5 million homes.

The Skegness array represents another major step, it is the largest off-shore wind array in the world and is a amazing touchstone for alternative energy, and is one of many world wide initiatives to reduce coal-based energy production. Even so, these developments are not without their problems.

The UK wants wind to represent 1/3rd (35 Gigawatts) of their total energy production by 2020. Many analysts say that without major infusions of capital (mostly in the form of tax money), achieving this goal will be impossible. In a world where all economies are feeling increasing pressure to trim the fat, these massive outlays are unlikely. Add this to the fact that there are problems getting these wind farms hooked into the grid, and the task becomes even more uncertain.

If they are unable to meet these targets, they could face energy shortages and heavy fines from Europe as Britain is legally committed to generating at least 15 per cent of its total energy from alternative sources by 2020.

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