Wind, no wind and boats

From the dizzying heights of Westbrook Towers four offshore windfarms are visible. Three of them are close and readily found with the naked eye the other, Gunfleet Sands off the Essex coast, requires cooperation from the weather and a keen eye or the help of some 8 x 40s.

The four comprise, Kentish Flats, Thanet Offshore Windfarm, London Array and the previously mentioned Gunfleet sands. Between them, at full capacity, they generate a hefty 1.242 GW. The last months have seen windy conditions on a near daily basis and the windframs have been producing regularly at or near maximum capacity.

Not so yesterday. The turbines in all four sites were observed to  be stationary. Where then, does the power shortfall get made up from? From imports (mainly from French Nuclear power stations) and our own fossil fuelled and nuclear power stations. The question is, when the wind is blowing and there is less of a need for non renewable power generation, what happens to the plant that we need when the wind isn’t blowing? Do we have to recompense the owners of the power stations to shut the plant down (very difficult to do at short notice with nuclear and steam driven plant) and therefore earn no revenue …. or what? How do we encourage folks to cough up the dosh to replace our ageing non-renewable plant if continuous operation isn’t an option? Do we inflate the wholesale cost of electrical energy in the market place in order to make our inefficient use of plant economically viable? I think we’re probably doing that already. Hmmm.


Pictured above, some of the 368 wind turbines in the Thames Estuary not producing any electricity yesterday. Also seen is the container ship ‘Tim S’ which has been at the Tongue Anchorage since the middle of November. No work, no happiness.


Also with no work, the BIG Lift operated ‘Happy Delta’, anchored in Margate Roads for the last week. Not a good sign for the industry.

Development Rounds

Unlike onshore wind, offshore wind is leased in “rounds” so we know where the projects over the next few years will be. The Rounds to date are shown in the tables below.

UK Offshore windfarms, the story so far (courtesy of Renewables UK)

Site Developer MW Capacity Status
Round 1 – 2001
Barrow DONG Energy 90 Operational
Beatrice Demo SSE Renewables 10 Operational
Blyth E.ON UK Renewables 4 Operational
Burbo Bank DONG Energy 90 Operational
Gunfleet Sands I DONG Energy & Marubeni 108 Operational
Lynn & Inner Dowsing Centrica Renewable Energy Ltd 194 Operational
Kentish Flats Vattenfall 90 Operational
North Hoyle RWE Npower Renewables 60 Operational
Ormonde Vattenfall 150 Operational
Rhyl Flats RWE Npower Renewables 90 Operational
Robin Rigg E.ON UK Renewables 174 Operational
Scroby Sands E.ON UK Renewables 60 Operational
Teesside EdF 62 Operational
Cirrus Array (Shell Flats) N/A 270 Withdrawn
Cromer N/A 108 Withdrawn
Scarweather Sands N/A 108 Withdrawn
Site Developer MW Capacity Status
Round 2 – 2002
Thanet Vattenfall 300 Operational
Walney I DONG Energy / SSE Renewables/ Ampere Equity / PGGM 183.6 Operational
Walney 2 DONG Energy / SSE Renewables/ Ampere Equity / PGGM 183.6 Operational
Greater Gabbard SSE Renewables, RWE Npower Renewables 504 Operational
Gunfleet Sands II DONG Energy & Marubeni 64.8 Operational
Sheringham Shoal Scira Offshore Energy Ltd 317 Operational
Gwynt Y Mor RWE Innogy / SWM / Siemens 576 Operational
Lincs Centrica 270 Operational
London Array I DONG Energy / E.On Renewables / Masdar 630 Operational
Humber Gateway E.ON UK Renewables 219 Operational
West of Duddon Sands Scottish Power/DONG Energy 389 Operational
Westermost Rough DONG Energy 210 Operational
Dudgeon Statoil & Statkraft 402 Approved
Race Bank DONG Energy 580 Approved
London Array II DONG Energy / E.On Renewables / Masdar 240 Withdrawn
Triton Knoll RWE Npower / Statkraft 900 Approved
Docking Shoal Centrica 540 Refused
Site Developer MW Capacity Status
Scottish Territorial Waters – 2009
Beatrice SSE Renewables / SeaEnergy 588 Approved
Neart na Gaoithe Mainstream 450 Approved
Inch Cape Repsol / EDP Renováveis 784 Approved
Islay SSE Renewables 690 Exclusivity Agreement Awarded
Argyll Array Scottish Power Renewables 1800 Exclusivity Agreement Awarded
Hywind Scotland Pilot Park Statoil 30 Approved
Site Developer MW Capacity Status
Round 3 – 2010
Moray Firth Repsol / EDP Renováveis 1000 Approved
Firth of Forth SeaGreen Wind energy Ltd (SSE Renewables, Fluor) 3465 First Project Approved
Dogger Bank Forewind Consortia (SSE Renewables, RWE Npower Renewables, Statoil and Statkraft) 4800 Approved
Hornsea 1 (Heron & Njord) DONG Energy 1200 Approved
Hornsea 2 (Optimus Wind & Breesea) Smart Wind Consortia (Mainstream Renewable Power, Siemens Project Ventures) 1800 Submitted PINS
East Anglia East Anglia Offshore Wind Ltd (Scottish Power Renewables) 7200 First Project Approved

Second Project Submitted

Rampion E.On Climate and Renewables 400 Approved
Navitus Bay Eneco New Energy and EDF 970 Refused
Celtic Array Centrica & DONG Energy 4200 Withdrawn
Atlantic Array RWE Npower Renewables 1200 Withdrawn
Site Developer MW Capacity Status
Round 1 and 2 Extension Sites – 2010
Galloper RWE Npower Renewables 336 Approved
Kentish Flats 2 Extension Vattenfall 50 Operational
Burbo Bank Extension DONG Energy 258 Approved
Walney III DONG Energy 660 Approved
Site Developer MW Capacity Status
Demo sites – 2010
Gunfleet Sands 3 – Demonstration Project DONG Energy 12 Operational
Methil Offshore Wind Farm Demo site Samsung 7 Operational
European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre Scotland Vattenfall, Technip and AREG <100 Approved
Blyth Offshore EDF 40 Approved
Site Developer MW Capacity Status
Northern Ireland – 2012
First Flight Wind DONG Energy, RES, B9 400 Withdrawn


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About allatsea

Sixty year old master-mariner. Absolutely gorgeous. Well wedged.....when compared to a Nairobi street urchin. Sorted, in that I haven't been in court recently. Hopelessly optimistic, terminally disappointed. Good with cats and other fluffy things. No musical talent. Generous to a fault provided it's someone else's round. Political centreist with far right and left viewpoints. A green activist from the hydrocarbon position with nuclear leanings. Averse to avarice but always happy to receive lottery wins, gifts, windfalls, legacies, prizes and wet sloppy kisses.
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