The UK energy market has just started to experience a shift towards renewable energy sources. This trend has been promoted by the binding carbon targets and the EU’s 2020 renewable energy targets for the UK. In this context, some green energy projects are already operating, others are under construction, and many more planned in the UK.
Our aim, at Greenmatch.co.uk, in this post is to give an overview of the current development of green energy projects.
For that purpose, only projects under construction have been chosen, since projects in operation would distort that overview by incorporating data from past years and planned ones would have the same effect with future projects.
When it comes to choose the most outstanding and representative examples of those projects under construction, they have been classified into different categories, depending on their technologies and features, making sure that the most relevant renewable energy technologies in the UK are being represented. Those categories are: solar, biomass, onshore wind, offshore wind and ocean (tidal/wave).
Finally, for each category, the project with the highest capacity has been chosen as the representative of that category.
The following are the green energy projects under construction in the UK in 2016 with the highest capacity of their category:
German renewable energy company BayWa r.e. has built solar and wind parks in the UK that, combined, have a total capacity of 260 MW. Now it’s building the Vine Farm solar (photovoltaics) park in South Cambridgeshire, which will be the largest solar project of BayWa r.e. with a capacity of 45 MW. Its budget is £80.000 and its area will be 250 acres (approximately 100 hectares). Construction began in 2015 and, taking into account its size, it’ll be completed probably before 2017.
Lynemouth Power Station, located in Northumberland coast, was a coal power plant from 1972 to 2015. It was sold from German energy giant RWE to Czech utility company EPH. During 2016 and the first months of 2017, it’ll be converted into a biomass power plant. The conversion process will cost £350 million and will allow Lynemouth Power Station to generate 420 MW of electricity from burning wood pellets.
Among the large amount of wind energy projects being built in Scotland thanks to its natural conditions and politic and business willingness, Kilgallioch Windfarm will have the larger capacity (for onshore wind), being able to provide up to 239 MW when operating. Scottish Power Renewables is developing this wind farm project in Dumfries and Galloway County, Scotland. It’s estimated it’ll be completed in 2017, and it’ll require a construction expense of £300 million. It will consist of 96 Gamesa turbines (with a maximum size of 146.5 m to blade tip) laid out in a 32 km² area.
E.ON is currently constructing an offshore wind farm in the English Channel, 13 km off the coast of Sussex. When completed, it’ll be visible from Brighton and will have a capacity of 400.2 MW. Its 116 turbines provided by Vestas will have a total height of 140 m. The wind farm will cover an area of 72 km² after spending £1.3 billion.
Although tidal and wave energy are different energy sources and the technologies employed to harvest them is different, they’re usually combined under the same category (ocean energy), since they share many characteristics. The ocean energy project under construction with the highest planned capacity is the MeyGen tidal energy project (398 MW). It’s located in the Inner Sound of the Pentland Firth, a body of water between the north Scottish mainland and Stroma Island. Its 269 turbines laid out in 3.5 km² will be operating by the early 2020s. The total cost of the project will be £70 million.
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