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Today heralds the opening of the world’s largest offshore wind farm off the coast of Cumbria in the UK. The 367 megawatt wind farm, called Walney Farm, consists of 100 wind turbines and will power up to 320,000 homes.
Not only is it the world’s largest, but according to the British power company SSE and Denmark’s Dong Energy it is also the fastest built and cheapest offshore wind farm in the world today. However at £1.2 billion ($1.9 billion) cheap seems an odd adjective to use.
Walney Farm is owned by Dong Energy (50.1%), SSE (25.1%), and OPW – a consortium of the Dutch pension fund PGGM and the energy investment fund Ampere – (24.8%).
Britain’s new Energy Secretary, the Liberal Democrat MP Ed Davey has said, “Britain has a lot to be proud of in our growing offshore wind sector. Our island’s tremendous natural resource, our research base and a proud history of engineering make this the No. 1 destination for investment in offshore wind.”
Unfortunately, just as in the US, the UK has a large number of conservative politicians who do not see the benefits of clean energy. In fact over the past weekend 100 conservative MPs sent a letter to the Prime Minister David Cameron to urge a cut in energy subsidies, claiming that installations such as wind turbines are unpleasant to look it. As opposed to the beautiful coal power plants that are just a joy to gaze upon?
Luckily no one ever listens to politicians, least of all other politicians. So the future of the British wind sector is safe. Let’s hope that with more offshore wind farms, such as the under construction, 1 gigawatt London Array, Britain can cover its entire energy demand from clean energy.
By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com
Joao is a writer for Oilprice.com