UK Government Gives Green Light to Offshore Windfarm
UK has given its approval for what may be one of the biggest windfarms in the world. The project received approval for building a 1.2 GW windfarm, to be located 43 km from the Suffolk Coast, from the UK Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC).
Onshore construction is expected to start in 2017 with offshore installation commencing in 2018, and power generation is expected to start by 2019.
With the installation of 240 turbines, and once operational, the project will generate enough electricity to power around 820,000 homes. This will make it bigger than the London Array, windfarm located off the Kent coast- which is currently the largest in the world. It is also expected to create 2900 jobs, and inject more than £520 million of investment into the UK economy, the Department of Energy and Climate Change said.
Locally, it may provide employment to 1800 people, and generate half a billion pounds for the East Anglian economy. Energy and climate change secretary, Ed Davey, said: “East Anglia and the rest of the UK have a lot to gain from this development. The project has the potential to inject millions of pounds into the local and national economies, and support thousands of green jobs. Making the most of Britain’s home grown energy is crucial in creating job and business opportunities, getting the best deal for customers and reducing our reliance on foreign imports.”
Green activists and environmentalists have also cheered the development. Ben Stafford, head of public affairs at WWF-UK, said: “Climate change is the biggest threat facing our oceans and seas globally and is already impacting on the UK’s rich marine environment. It’s therefore vital that we find ways to harness the clean energy that marine renewables, such as offshore wind, can provide.”
All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency
Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.
According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.
Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.
“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."
He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."
North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).
The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.