In the UK, the North East is set to become key to Britain's
hopes of boosting its production of renewable energy, after
E.On submitted plans to build one of the largest ever wind
farms in the country and the UK government gave the go-ahead
to a pilot tidal project in the Humber estuary.
However, E.On's plans must first overcome objections from
the Ministry of Defence, who fear that the 83 turbines to
be situated five miles off the coast of East Yorkshire will
interfere with radar defences.
E.On hopes to begin building the £700m wind farm in
2010 with production of 300 megawatts of electricity in 2012.
It would go some way towards helping UK Business Secretary
John Hutton achieve his aim of producing more than 33 gigawatts
of electricity from offshore wind farms by 2020.
The plans have been criticised as unrealistic, as the high
cost of steel and other components and the shortage of vessels
needed to build them send costs soaring. E.On said recently
that production costs of £1m per MW for onshore wind
farms doubled for offshore developments.
The UK's MoD has also indicated it will object to the plans.
It is understood that the turbines can create 'clutter'
on radar screens.
E.On UK chief executive, Paul Golby, said - "The next
generation of large-scale offshore wind farms - such as Humber
Gateway - have a vital role to play in the UK's future energy
mix. This scheme will displace the emission of hundreds of
thousands of tonnes of carbon dioxide every year and will
make a significant contribution to helping the government
meet tough renewable energy targets.
"As part of our multi-billion pound investment strategy
- not only will it make a major contribution to the fight
against climate change, it will help ensure a secure, reliable
and clean supply of electricity for families and businesses
in the UK."
The company already operates more than 20 wind farms in the
UK, although the Humber Gateway will be its largest commitment
to wind power.
The UK government has given planning permission for a prototype
tidal power project in the same area. Pulse Tidal's test project,
which has been given £878,000 of public money, could
generate up to 0.15MW of electricity from underwater currents
in the Humber Estuary near Hull. The technology could be used
to develop 1MW units in tidal power farms, generating up to
100MW - or enough to power 70,000 homes.
Brussels proposed in January that Britain should get 15pc
of all energy from renewable sources such as the wind, sun
and biomass, by 2020, compared with 1.3pc in 2005.