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Lynsey Jones: Don’t doubt British wind power

Lynsey Jones (Climate Programme Manager at CEN)

If you get the chance to visit an offshore wind farm, say yes. Once you sit under these impressive, towering structures, you will understand how the UK can become the Saudi Arabia of wind.

Earlier this week, a group of the Conservative Environment Network team took a boat to visit southern England's only offshore wind farm, Rampion, just off the coast from Brighton and Hove.

Standing 140 metres tall, the 116 turbines generate enough electricity to power 350,000 homes - equivalent to half of all households in Sussex - a year. The £1.3 billion project also created 60 full-time permanent jobs and supported hundreds more during the wind farm's construction.

Despite only being five years old, these giant turbines are now considered small as new, more powerful turbines have been developed. Wind technology is advancing so quickly that offshore turbines have become five times more powerful in the last twenty years.

The proposal to expand the wind farm, Rampion 2, shows how far the industry has come in such a short period. If approved, the expansion could power one million more homes with up to 116 new turbines, 2.3 times as tall by the decade's end.

But even this is small compared to the world's largest offshore wind farm, Hornsea 2, which started generating electricity off Yorkshire's coast this week. It will power 1.4 million homes a year - enough for the city of Manchester.

Offshore wind is now at a record-low price and will generate electricity nine times cheaper than gas. By 2030, the industry will employ over 100,000 people and, under the government's energy security strategy, produce more than enough electricity to power every home in the UK.

If you doubt the industry’s potential, a visit to the relatively small Rampion alone will be enough to persuade you of the power of renewables.


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