Switch on for UK's first offshore wind farm

Last edited 19 November 2003 at 9:00am
19 November, 2003
  • First offshore wind electricity flows ashore
  • Prime Minister and Greenpeace hail future 'transformed by clean energy'
  • Greenpeace and npower launch development fund for renewables

The UK's vast wind power potential will become a reality today (21 November 2003) when Britain's first major offshore wind farm begins to deliver electricity ashore.

The North Hoyle Offshore Wind Farm is located 7-8 km off the North Wales coast between Prestatyn and Rhyl. It will be officially 'switched on' at events staged jointly in North Wales and London by energy supplier, npower, and environmental group Greenpeace. Energy Minister Stephen Timms will attend the London launch.

In an address to be broadcast at both events, the Prime Minister praised the unique alliance between npower and Greenpeace stating, "I am pleased to celebrate what even a few years ago would have been the most unlikely of partnerships - npower and Greenpeace - and their inauguration of the North Hoyle Offshore Wind Farm."

He went on to congratulate those involved in the project. "Rolling out this first large-scale offshore wind venture is a highly significant step toward achieving Britain's renewables goal. We are on our way to a future that can be transformed by the use of clean forms of energy. I look forward to celebrating further successes with you along the way," he said.

The project took eight months to complete and will offset the release of 160,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere per year. The thirty turbines will supply clean power for up to 50,000 homes.

Andrew Duff, Chief Executive Officer of npower and RWE Innogy, which built North Hoyle, said it would be a tangible symbol to people who want to protect the environment. "All too often people think of the big issues like global warming and feel powerless to do anything about it.

Through our clean electricity, we can help people across the country make a difference. For every unit of electricity taken from the National Grid by customers of npower Juice, we will replace it with a unit of electricity from North Hoyle. This will effectively offset their electricity use and help reduce the greenhouse gasses entering the atmosphere."

Stephen Tindale, Executive Director of Greenpeace UK welcomed North Hoyle's completion and urged more action to encourage the development of renewable technologies. "This is the beginning of mainstream wind power development and the dawn of a new clean energy era for Britain. Global warming is the greatest threat facing the planet, but the power flowing ashore today demonstrates we have the solutions to tackle it. It's great news for all our futures." he said.

Energy Minister Stephen Timms said: "We've set the target so that, by 2010, we want 10% of our electricity to be generated from renewable resources. It's clear that perhaps as much as 80% of that will be from wind farms like this one, the first commercial large scale offshore wind farm in the UK - it's a pioneering development."

npower Juice Fund launched to boost fledgling renewables projects
npower and Greenpeace today also announced the creation of the "npower Juice Fund", designed to assist the development of projects in other renewable energy fields such as wave and tidal energy. npower will make an annual contribution of £10 for every customer that stays with npower Juice - up to a maximum of £500,000 per year.

"Juice customers have helped speed up the development of Britain's first offshore wind farm, now they can also support the next generation of clean energy sources," said Tindale.

North Hoyle was developed by National Wind Power, part of RWE Innogy, Britain's largest producer of renewable energy. The wind farm will have a total installed capacity of 60 megawatts (MW).

Notes to editors

1. North Hoyle was constructed by a consortium comprising Vestas Celtic Wind Technology and Mayflower Energy, both UK-based companies. Approximately 85% of the capital expenditure of North Hoyle has been placed with companies based in the UK. Further details about the North Hoyle Offshore Wind Farm can be found at www.northhoyle.co.uk

2. In addition to npower Juice, in June 2002 npower also announced a partnership with the UK's leading solar company Solar Century to look into developing solar energy 'accounts' for domestic and business electricity users. To register for npower Juice, consumers anywhere in the UK can telephone the hotline on 0800 316 2610 or log on to www.switchtojuice.com

3. npower is one of the UK's largest energy providers supplying gas, electricity, home maintenance, warranty and conveyancing services to over 6 million customers anywhere in the UK mainland. It is a subsidiary of RWE Innogy. www.npower.com/juice

4. Greenpeace is an independent non-profit global campaigning organisation that uses creative confrontation to expose global environmental problems and their causes. It researches the solutions and alternatives to help provide a path for a green and peaceful future. Greenpeace does not financially benefit from Juice.

5. National Wind Power has developed the leading position in the UK wind power market. Formed in August 1991, the company is also a subsidiary of RWE Innogy and has offices in South East England, South West England, North East England, Wales and Scotland. NWP's team of over seventy professional staff have more experience of wind farm development and management in the UK than any other group. www.natwindpower.co.uk 6. While North Hoyle was being constructed Juice was sourced from existing onshore wind sources and a hydro plant based in Dolgarrog in the Snowdonia Mountains, which uses the plentiful natural supply of water to generate electricity. As a Juice customer, for every unit of electricity you use, a unit of Juice electricity is purchased by npower on your behalf. This means that although the electricity you receive is no different to normal electricity, it is ensured that an equivalent amount of electricity to that which you use is generated from clean, renewable sources.

7. Numerous studies indicate that in theory offshore wind could supply the total UK electricity requirement. In addition, the skills acquired over the decades in the oil and gas industry make the UK uniquely positioned to exploit this abundant renewable resource, with substantial potential for job creation in the new industry.

8. One of the major causes of global warming and climate change is the emission of large volumes of the gas carbon dioxide (CO2), resulting from, amongst other things, the generation of electricity by burning fossil fuels like coal and oil. Every unit of electricity generated from the wind, however, whether on land or at sea, takes the place of a unit that would otherwise have been generated by a fossil fuel power station, thus helping to reduce CO2 emissions and combat climate change.


Images of North Hoyle have been distributed to picture desks by Newscast and can also be sourced from: www.newscast.co.uk (registering is quick and free - follow instructions) or by calling 0845 070 2807

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