Doctor Who claims offshore wind could “save the planet” at launch of green campaign

A campaign calling for the UK to further embrace offshore wind to supply its electricity needs has been launched by a coalition of green organisations, supported by current Doctor Who actor Peter Capaldi.

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Sep 28, 2017
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Companies including including Greenpeace, WWF and the Marine Conservation Society have taken over Westminster Tube station with posters on the walls and ticket gates extolling the virtues of offshore wind power, which is now half the price it was just two years ago.

‘Doctor Who’ and ‘Thick of It’ actor Peter Capaldi was there to launch the campaign and said offshore wind “may just save the planet”.

Some of the most recent offshore schemes have secured guaranteed prices of as low as £57.50/MWh for the electricity they generate, far lower than nuclear developments such as Hinkley Point C, which will cost a relatively high £92.50/MWh.

Backers say this should make offshore the “natural choice” to play a leading role in the energy mix.

Technological developments such as bigger turbines and the growth in the UK supply chain have helped contribute to the falling prices.

The latest eight-megawatt (MW) turbines stand almost 200 metres (650ft) high - taller than London’s ‘Gherkin’ office building - and produce enough electricity to power a home for 29 hours with a single rotation of their blades, with even bigger units in the pipeline.

“Great Britain is the world leader in a technology which can generate huge amounts of energy without using any fuel,” Capaldi said. “It is safe, secure, zero-carbon and economical. In fact, it’s halved in price in just two years. That’s 50 per cent off. It’s a great deal and it may just save the planet”.

Actress Emma Thompson, who visited an offshore wind farm to further help launch the campaign, said: “It’s the most fantastic deal for the UK and it’s creating thousands of jobs in regions where unemployment has been, of late, very high.

“It’s creating jobs, it’s regenerating coastal areas and it’s providing clean, beautiful green energy for us, our children and our grandchildren.”

A recent poll by YouGov surveying 1,716 adults showed strong support for offshore wind, with 58 per cent saying the government should prioritise the technology in the future, compared with 19 per cent for nuclear power and just 3 per cent for gas.

John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace UK, said: “We’ve known for a long time that renewable energy was much more popular with the British public than any of the alternatives.

“Now that offshore wind is more than cost-competitive with every other energy option, we have a way forward for UK energy policy.”

Industry body RenewableUK’s executive director Emma Pinchbeck said: “Offshore wind has rewritten the rulebook, sending costs tumbling down, which is great news for consumers.

“As new offshore wind is now cheaper than new gas and nuclear, it’s the natural technology of choice to play a leading role in the UK’s modern clean energy mix.”

Today, new figures from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy revealed continued growth in the UK’s renewable energy market – with 29.8 per cent of energy generated by renewable energy sources in the second quarter of 2017, beating the previous quarterly record of 26.9 set in the first part of the year. Of these figures, 45 per cent of all clean energy was generated by wind alone – with 27 per cent coming from onshore wind and 18 per cent from offshore wind.

“It’s terrific to see that nearly a third of the UK’s electricity is now being generated by renewables, with wind power leading the way, “ said Pinchbeck. “The UK’s renewable energy sector is an industrial success story, attracting investment, creating new jobs, and powering our economy.”

This article first appeared on the E&T website. Read the full version here and discover more breaking engineering and technology news and features. 

Go to the profile of Jade Taylor-Salazar

Jade Taylor-Salazar

Supplements editor , Engineering and Technology

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