Wind Farm for Suffolk

An offshore windfarm 12 miles from the Suffolk coast has been approved by the Government. The Greater Gabbard scheme will occupy 90 square miles, and will be the first offshore wind farm not wholly in British territorial waters.

There will be 140 turbines close to two shallow sandbanks, the Inner Gabbard and the Galloper, due East of Harwich.

They will be close enough to London to supply a small amount of electricity.

The project is a joint venture between Airtricity and Fluor.

Construction is due to begin in 2009 and it should be operating by 2010. There are currently five offshore wind farms in Britain, with consent for a further 10.

Ignoring the sizeable government subsidies, the price for wind turbines is reckoned at around 80p per installed watt of rated capacity.

In Scotland, the load factor is around 33%, which gives a price of 2.40 per watt, ignoring the subsidy.

Further south, the load factors are lower because there's less wind.

A 20% load factor would give a price of 4.00 per watt, ignoring the subsidy; rather more than this if the subsidy was included.

A 16% load factor would give a price of 6 per watt, ignoring the subsidy; much more than this if the subsidy was included.

For comparison, the proposed coal station at Kingsnorth should deliver power at 83p per watt of installed capacity. Gas is around 58p per watt and nuclear from 80p to 1.67 depending on the design. These prices do not include the price of the fuel itself.

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