Dubbed the London Array, and located 20 kilometers off of the coast of Kent, UK in the river Thames estuary, a newly constructed offshore wind farm produced its first, of what will certainly be many megawatts this past week.
Since its inception in 2001, the London Array has had to cross many hurdles for the proposal to become a reality. The on-again, off-again project, has just installed its first 15 turbines and there is scheduled to be another 160 built during phase one. Though the total energy generation is scheduled to be less than the 1GW proposed when the project began, the project, once its current plan is complete, will provide enough electricity to power 750,000 homes or 25% of London dwellings and abate 1.4 million tons of CO2 annually. The turbines will cover an estimated 19 square miles once phase one is completed and there is also a potential of 240 MW capacity to be constructed for phase two pending legal approval . The approval process for phase two is underway currently. This project will help the UK Government reach two of its client change related goals: to reduce CO2 emissions by 34% by 2020 and to get 15% of their total energy from renewable sources by 2015.
Offshore wind developments are especially important for renewable energy proliferation because, often times, they are able to take advantages of the cost savings associated with economies of scale that typically cannot be realized in terrestrial wind installations.
This video details the many undertakings that needed to be done for the London Array to start generating energy.