The UK has officially overtaken Denmark to become the world’s leader in offshore wind power according to the newly formed Department of Energy and Climate Change.The figures from the British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) revealed that the UK now gets more than three gigawatts of its electricity from wind power both on and offshore, enough to power around 1.7 million UK homes.
The news follows the recent announcement from DECC Secretary Ed Miliband that the UK is committed to cutting its greenhouse gas emissions by 80% since 1990 by the deadline of 2050.
Commenting on the UK’s wind success Minister of State at the DECC Mike O’Brien, said: “Offshore wind is hugely important to help realise the Government’s ambition to dramatically increase the amount of energy from renewable sources. Overtaking Denmark is just the start.”
According to Mr O’Brien, “There are already five more offshore wind farms under construction that will add a further 938 megawatts to our total by the end of next year.”
And, the future looks bright for wind power and the millions of Brits who will struggle to pay their fuel bills this winter, as Mr O’Brien added: “We are also assessing plans to increase the total by a massive 25 gigawatts in the future. That’s enough electricity for every home in the country.”
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However, for these dreams to be realised, access to the national grid by wind power needs to be made easier. At the BWEA conference this week, wind industry leaders called on the Government to invest the £50billion as soon as possible to update the national grid to integrate decentralised energy sources such as wind.
Commenting at the conference, Mr O’Brien described wind energy as ‘ready to take off’, adding that investment in energy infrastructure, most of which is more than 40 years old, could help lift the UK economy. He said, “We need to do what we can to bring forward energy projects to stimulate the economy.”
Both gas and electricity prices from the ‘big six’ energy companies have hit new highs this year and have been blamed for inflation’s new high of 5.2 per cent. The wind industry could reduce these with the right support and investment.