Opponents of clean energy try to find any reason to stop renewable installations (I guess they hate the planet?) and when it comes to wind farms they suddenly start caring about birds. Their argument is that birds will fly into the blades of wind turbines. This argument was recently studied on the shores of the UK and found to be marginally correct, instead of killing thousands of birds a wind farm found only an average of one every four months. This death rate is notable less than the amount of birds killed by flying into windows on skyscrapers. Hopefully the anti wind energy people now redirect their own energy to protecting birds from pointless deaths from lights being left on in towers.
Tim Frayling, Senior Environmental Specialist Ornithology, Natural England said: “Natural England acknowledge the significant achievement of providing empirical evidence of bird avoidance in relation to an offshore wind farm for the first time, and the progress in starting to address some key questions in this area.
“The proof of concept has been successfully demonstrated and we would look forward to seeing similar studies in different locations, including wind farms closer to seabird colonies.”
Oil and gas companies have seen the writing on the wall about the future of energy: it’s all about renewables. The Norwegian state-owned company Statoil installed a massive wind farm off the coast of Scotland and it’s a roaring success. The wind turbines float in the water and are operating more efficiently than their land-based counterparts. What’s more is that they survived hurricane force winds.
Hywind in particular was built much like a floating offshore oil drilling rig, with the platform anchored down to the seabed using suction anchors. These eliminate the need to construct expensive fixed structures under water and allow Statoil and others to site the turbines farther out to sea in deeper waters. Hywind specifically is 15.5 miles out from Aberdeenshire, Scotland. At maximum capacity, it can power 20,000 homes.
Despite its “floating” moniker, Hywind is well-equipped to withstand violent storms without capsizing. The system performed as expected during the extreme storms that hit it over the winter. In October, the proximity of Hurricane Ophelia exposed Hywind to wind speeds of 125km/h (80mph), and, later in December, another storm delivered “gusts in excess of 160km/h (100mph) and waves in excess of 8.2m (27ft).”
The UK is going to expand their wind farms so that half of their energy will come from wind. Interestingly, they are taking a purely economically-driven take on this. I hope that people like Harper and Bush will soon start to notice that saving the planet creates jobs and helps create an economy that can prosper; after all, the Brits are doing it.
“The UK is now the number one location for investment in offshore wind in the world and next year we will overtake Denmark as the country with the most offshore wind capacity.
“This could be a major contribution towards meeting the EU’s target of 20% of energy from renewable sources by 2020.”
Hutton made clear the scale of the plans. The “first round” of offshore wind farms, in 2001, comprised a few small demonstration projects. The “second round” in 2003 limited development to the Thames estuary, the Greater Wash and the northwest.
And the BBC reports on the wind farm:
Business Secretary John Hutton says he wants to open up British seas to allow enough new turbines – up to 7,000 – to power all UK homes by the year 2020.
He acknowledged “it is going to change our coastline”, but said the issue of climate change was “not going away”.