UK opens world’s biggest offshore wind farm!

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Glad to see that the UK government has finally decided that we should start properly taking advantage of the amazing wind resources that we have been blessed with. The map below shows just how much more wind we have than almost every other populated region in the world and in fact, the difference is even greater than the map suggests due to the cubic relationship between the mean wind speed and the power it contains.Capture

Despite its humongous scale (175 turbines, rated at 630MW), I was surprised to find out that in many ways, the project is remarkably similar to the small scale rural development projects I’m used to. The full article says that although much of the investment has come from overseas, the majority of the work has been done by UK firms, putting money back into the struggling UK economy and building local capacity.

630MW may seem a lot, but when you consider that this will only power half a million of London’s 2-3 million homes, let alone any of the commercial or industrial premesis, it seems like a drop in the ocean (excuse the pun!). Just as the first small wind turbine to be installed in a remote community can never hope to provide all the power the community will need, but can be the first step on the pathway to achieving a low carbon and resilient energy supply. However, the fact that all of this 630MW are generated from UK resources (as opposed to Russian gas or Columbian coal), virtually on the doorstep of the homes that it will supply means that little will be lost in transmission and distribution and allows us to take control of our own energy supply (even though the wind is probably the hardest resource to attempt to take control of due to its unpredictability!).

Back on the BBC

the Imagineers

This time its a full cinematic debut in Technicolour! An entire day of filming at Sheffield University condensed down to just 6 minutes and 20 seconds for your viewing pleasure. My personal favourite is the shot in the student workshop where I have safety glasses on over my already huge and extremely nerdy glasses – with geek-chic currently the height of fashion, its a good time to be a PhD student!

Disclaimer: Although it seems to suggest that these are my designs for small wind turbines, they certainly are not. They are the hard work of Hugh Piggott (big machine with wooden blades) and John Simnett (smaller machine with plastic blades), who have spent decades refining the technology and making it available to those who really need it. Thank you to both of you for the incredible amount of work you have put into these machines.