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World's largest offshore wind farm opens for business

Mark Kilner
via Flickr
The Thanet Offshore Wind Farm in humbler times. This photo was taken last December. Since then, 99 other turbines have sprouted up alongside this one.

The world's largest offshore wind farm opened off the southern coast of England today. The stats: 100 turbines about eight miles offshore that can produce up to 300 megawatts of power. That's enough electricity for roughly 200,000 British homes a year.

ITN took a video camera out to the new wind farm. They say Britain's offshore wind energy production now stands at 1,341 megawatts. That's compared to 1,100 offshore megawatts clocked by the nearest competitor. The name of that competitor: the rest of the world combined!*

Still, Britain has yet to hit its 2020 goal of getting 15 percent of its electricity from renewable sources.

As we reported recently, the New York Power Authority (NYPA) is looking for a superlative of its own. The agency is considering plans for the world's first freshwater offshore wind farm in Lake Ontario and/or Lake Erie.

If that project was as large as NYPA guidelines allow, it would trounce the latest from the Brits. It could bring up to 166 turbines and produce up to 500 megawatts.

Neither wind farm would be the champ for long, however. By 2012, an offshore project called the London Array will start to generate electricity just north of the Thanet site. That farm could generate as much as 1,000 megawatts – making it the first wind project to hit the coveted one gigawatt mark.


*NOTE: These figures are for offshore wind only. The total installed capacity of wind power in Great Britain is over 5 gigawatts – that’s 5,000 megawatts. By comparison, the installed capacity of wind power in the United States is over 35,000 megawatts – making it the world leader in installed capacity, just ahead of Germany. We apologize for any confusion.

WXXI/Finger Lakes reporter for the Innovation Trail.
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