London: Britain on Thursday inaugurated the
world`s largest offshore wind farm, part of the government`s
bid to reduce the carbon emissions that drive climate change.
The project got a qualified welcome from environmental
The site, a forest of giant turbines in the North Sea off
the south-eastern English coast, has 100 turbines so far.
Swedish energy company Vattenfall, which built the farm,
says it has the potential to power 200,000 homes.
The farm will increase Britain`s capacity to generate
wind power by more than 30 per cent.
Situated around 12 kilometres out to sea, the 380-foot
115-metre high turbines are spread over more than 35 square
kilometres and are visible from the shore.
Up to 341 turbines will be installed at the site.
The farm is expected to produce 300 megawatts of energy
at full capacity, which would see Britain`s renewable energy
capacity rise to five gigawatts.
Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne welcomed
Britain`s progress on wind power.
"We are in a unique position to become a world leader in
this industry," he said.
"We are an island nation and I firmly believe we should
be harnessing our wind, wave and tidal resources to the
Craig Bennett, the campaigns and policy director for
Friends of the Earth, said the wind farm was an "important
stride forward" but warned that Britain`s record on renewable
energy was "dismal".
Critics point out that the turbines only produce energy
when the wind is blowing and that as yet no cost-effective
fuel cell has been developed for storing the power once it has
Professor Ian Fells, an energy expert, said: "What
worries me is the government seems to be obsessed with the
option of wind farms and neglects other sources of renewable
energy, which in may ways could be more important.