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World’s largest wind farm to go ahead

The world’s largest wind farm, which is being built by offshore wind power developer Dong Energy, is to progress following a final investment decision, it has been announced.

Commenting on the news, Brent Cheshire of DONG Energy said:

"This is a historic milestone for Hornsea Project One as we are now making a firm and final commitment to invest fully in the project.”

The offshore wind farm will be built 120 kms off the Grimsby coast; it will have the capacity to produce 1.2 gigawatts, and the ability to provide power for more than 1 million homes.

Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Amber Rudd, welcomed the news and stated:

“Thanks to Government support the UK is the world leader in offshore wind energy and this success story is going from strength to strength. Dong Energy’s investment shows that we are open for business and is a vote of confidence in the UK and in our plan to tackle the legacy of under-investment and build an energy infrastructure fit for the 21st century.”

Planning and Construction

Nearly 10 years of planning have already gone into the project, and years of development work have been conducted. Once the site has been constructed, it will stretch more than 407 km, the windfarm will be powered by 7 megawatts turbines, and they’ll each measure 190 metres in height.

UK company Siemens will be responsible for the production of the wind turbines, and it was announced in December 2015 that infrastructure firm Balfour Beatty will have responsibility for constructing the onshore substation.

Balfour Beatty began work on the construction in January 2016; the £25 million project will include cabling work and local infrastructure to help ensure the project’s success.

In addition, a high-voltage AC electricity will be built as part of the project; it will take 900 km of cables to enable the power to be fed to the National Grid.

Job Creation

The project is good news for employment figures in the North of England as it is estimated the project will create 2000 jobs during the construction phase, and a further 300 positions are expected to be created once the windfarm has been completed; the opening date is schedules for 2020.

Future Plans

Future plans from Dong Energy include a Hornsea Projects 2 and 3, which between them could produce an additional 3 gigawatts of power.

Wind energy power reaches record levels

Britain’s dependence on wind power is growing from strength to strength, according to figures recently issued by the National Grid.

The statistics, which have been detailed on the Renewable UK website, indicate that wind power reached record levels in the UK in 2015, and that 11% of the UK’s electricity was produced from onshore and offshore wind power sources last year. This is an increase from 9.5% in 2014.

In December 2015, a new record was set when 17% of electrical power was supplied through wind power; December was also the month when a new weekly record was set, with 20% of electricity being provided by wind power.

The quarterly records from October to December also saw a minor increase from 12% in 2014 to 13% in 2015. Moreover, the statistics show that 5.8% of the wind power came from onshore sources while 5.2% was from offshore.

According to the figures, wind power is now supplying enough energy to fuel more than 8 million households in United Kingdom.

Commenting on the new statistics, Dr Gordon Edge, director of policy for Renewable UK, said:

“This is a great way to start the new year – the wind industry can be proud that it has shattered weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual generation records in 2015. This re-writes the record books. We’ve had a bumper harvest thanks to increased deployment and superb wind speeds.

“It also demonstrates why the Government should continue to support wind energy, as we’re delivering on our commitment to keep Britain powered up. We can continue to increase the proportion of the nation’s electricity which we provide as we move away from fossil fuels to clean sources of power”.

Wind power investment

In further positive news for the renewable energy sector, Dong Energy, a leading company in the offshore wind sector, has announced plans for significant investment in this form of power in the coming years.

UK Energy Policy

The figures from the National Grid, and the announcement from Dong Energy, should be viewed as good news by the government as the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate change, Amber Rudd, recently made a speech regarding the changes to the UK’s energy policy.

Despite the cuts in wind power subsidies, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate change said that the government expected 10 gigawatts of wind power to be installed in the UK by 2020, however, Amber Rudd also made it clear that continued support for the wind power industry would be conditional and it was dependent on significant cost reductions.

Gas and oil production in the UK predicted to increase

The UK’s gas and oil production increased by 7 per cent in 2015, according to new figures released by Gas and Oil UK, however, it is warning that it will be difficult to sustain these levels during the coming year.

In a statement, Oil & Gas UK’s chief executive Deirdre Michie, said:

“Government data for the first 10 months of 2015 shows that the total volume of oil and gas produced on the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) was up 8.6 per cent compared with 2014, with the production of liquids up 10.6 per cent and gas up 6.1 per cent.

“Output in November and December tends historically to be more stable, but even so, Oil & Gas UK now expects year end production for the full year of 2015 to be seven to eight per cent higher than last year.”

However, Michie also made it clear that gas and oil production will face many challenges in the year ahead; the most pressing challenges for the offshore gas and oil industry include the low prices for oil, and the sector is also facing job losses.

In a recent statement, Michie also spoke of the importance of a resilient gas and oil industry, and it is imperative that the gas and oil industries adapt their strategies if they are going to compete globally and gain vital investment.

The official announcement that production was on the increase followed predictions issued by the government in late 2015, but figures are expected to decline from 2020, according to the UKCS Oil and Gas Production Projections.

New Initiatives

A number of new initiatives were introduced in 2015 to help bolster the gas and oil sector in the UK. In late 2015, an Industry Behaviours Charter was signed by the Oil and Gas UK Board. The aim of the charter was to improve efficiency in order to transform the offshore gas and oil industry and enhance collaboration between SMEs, contractors and operators, as well as to develop new business models.

In addition, the Rapid Efficiency Exchange was launched to allow gas and oil companies to come together to share useful advice on improving efficiencies in the industries, while also providing a forum to discuss the challenges that face the sector.

Government support

Oil and Gas UK added that an important factor for the future of the industries would be support from the government and HM Treasury.

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