Wind Power is the process of creating kinetic energy by harnessing the natural power of wind in turbines that turn electrical generators to create electricity on an onshore or offshore wind farm.
The United Kingdom is one of the best locations in the world for wind power with over 10,000 wind turbines in operation with an installed capacity of 22 gigawatts which contributes to 20% of all electricity generation.
The growth in wind power in the U.K was driven by renewable obligation (RO) and feed in tariffs provided by the U.K government to incentivise electricity supply companies to invest in renewable energy. The European commission renewable energies directive which was put in place in 2009 required all EU countries to create 20% of all electricity generated by renewable technologies by 2020 further accelerated the development of the wind sector.
The U.K. government removed tariffs in 2017, this together with issues associated with obtaining planning permission based on the impact to the countryside slowed the onshore wind sector. New CFD tariffs were reintroduced in late 2019 this coupled with the reduction in the cost of construction and legislation that was passed to enable planning permission has reinvigorated the onshore wind sector. The U.K wind sector currently remain buoyant with the U.K government committed to having in excess of 50 gigawatts of wind capacity by 2030 based on development of NEW onshore and offshore wind farm project currently in planning or under construction.
An onshore wind farms connects the wind turbines using buried inter array cables in a daisy chain formation which connect back to a substation. There is then an 33kV or 132kV buried export cable which runs to the point of connection where it is connected onto the transmission system operator (TSO) or distribution network operator (DNO) networks. There is currently 13 gigawatts of installed capacity on onshore wind farms in operation in the U.K however there are ambitious plans to more than double this capacity by 2030. The current projects in planning will use 4.2MW as apposed to 2.5MW turbines which are significantly larger and create more electricity and as a result will run at higher voltages like 132kV.
The early offshore wind farms were positioned just off the U.K coast line but the more recent projects in planning will be as far away as 100 miles offshore. The wind turbines are interconnected by subsea inter array cables which connect back to an offshore substation platform. This is then connected via HVDC subsea export cable to the transition joint bay from where the EHV HVDC land cable runs in a ducted system through to the transmission system operator (TSO) network. The U.K is global world leader in offshore wind with 8 gigawatts of installed capacity around the U.K coastline which is expected to quadruple by 2030. There are some of the biggest offshore windfarms in planning or under construction which will use 9MW and 12MW wind turbines which have more than 3 times to power output than some of early wind turbines installed offshore.