Edward Davey, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, has demonstrated the coalition’s support for renewable energy in opening the world’s biggest offshore windfarm located near Walney in Cumbria. The site comprises 102 turbines, enough to power 320,000 homes, and sits alongside 60 other turbines generating off the Cumbrian coast, with more planned. Opening the new windfarm, Edward Davey, said: “Britain has a lot to be proud of in our growing offshore wind sector. Our island’s tremendous natural resource, our research base and a proud history of engineering make this the number one destination for investment in offshore wind.
“And Walney is the newest, biggest and fastest-built jewel in that crown, providing clean power for hundreds of thousands of households.
“Opening Walney during my first week in office lets me underline my commitment to continuing the Coalition’s work to make this sector a success story for the British economy, not least with the innovation it is driving and the employment it is creating.”
Forecasts suggest as many as 70,000 people could be employed in the UK offshore wind industry by the start of the next decade. Siemens, who made the turbines for Walney, is planning a manufacturing plant in Hull, while Gamesa and Vestas also have plans. The industry body optimistically expects “50% of ‘content’ being sourced in Britain in the future”. It is not clear what elements of the wind farm are defined as ‘content’ but given the recent troubles of European turbine manufacturers it is unlikely that Britain will see a surge in turbine manufacture.