The Prime Minster, Rt Hon Gordon Brown MP, today announced that the UK is now generating 3 gigawatts (GW) of its electricity supply from wind energy.
Speaking in a video message to the BWEA’s annual conference in London, he announced the news that based on recent figures, that the latest batch of turbines installed at ScottishPower Renewables 322MW Whitelee windfarm had taken Britain passed the historic 3GW landmark.
Whitelee windfarm currently has 81 turbines already constructed and connected to the Grid, and is now officially the largest on-shore windfarm operating in the UK. When it is completed in 2009 it will be the largest in Europe, generating an output of 322 MW from 140 turbines – enough clean green energy for over 180,000 homes, equivalent to the nearby city of Glasgow.
The first commercial onshore wind farm in the UK, the 4MW Delabole windfarm in Cornwall opened in 1991. It took a further 14 years to reach the first gigawatt of installed capacity in 2005, and a further 20 months to reach the second GW in February 2007.
Britain has also now overtaken Denmark as the largest generator of offshore wind in the world.
The Prime Minister said:
"We have known for a long time that Britain has the best wind and wave resources in Europe. We are now well on our way to exploiting that resource in full. From just one gigawatt of installed wind capacity in 2005, this week we will pass 3 gigawatts. We have now overtaken Denmark as the largest producer of offshore wind in world. And over the next twelve years the North Sea will become to offshore wind what the Gulf of Arabia is to oil production."
Keith Anderson, Director of ScottishPower Renewables said:
"This is a major milestone in the development of renewable energy in the UK, and underlines the progress that has been made in recent years both in terms of technological advances and the commitment shown by the Government, developers and planning authorities to help the UK realise its renewable energy potential.
"ScottishPower Renewables has recently increased our own renewable energy generation targets to 1,8 GW by 2012, and it is clear that with the further possibilities for developing both on-shore and offshore wind projects, and the huge potential in untapping wave and tidal energy, the UK is well on course to further establish itself as a world leader in renewable energy."