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North Hoyle Wind Farm
Construction of the North Hoyle Wind Farm began in April 2003. It is the UK’s first major off-shore wind farm and is located 5 miles off the North Wales coast between Rhyl and Prestatyn. It comprises 30 wind turbines, each one rated at 2MW.
The site began generating electricity in November 2003 and when fully operational will generate enough electricity to meet the needs of some 50,000 homes annually. Generating this amount of energy from wind power will offset the release of about 160,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year.
The North Hoyle site was chosen because it offers good wind resources, relatively calm seas, a suitable sea-bed for building on and a mean water depth of 12 metres. It is also close to good port facilities suitable for construction.
North Hoyle Offshore Wind Farm, North Wales: Photo © npower renewables 2005
Large wind farms aren’t always necessary: wind power can also work successfully on a smaller scale. In August 1999, a 65m-tall, 1.5MW wind turbine was installed on the outskirts of the small town of Swaffham in Norfolk.
The turbine’s annual electricity production of some 3GWh per year accounts for about one third of the electricity consumed by the homes in Swaffham. It is estimated that the turbine produced enough energy during its first five months of operation to make up for the energy used in its manufacture.
The turbine has been so successful that a second was installed in July 2003. Swaffham II stands 85m tall and is rated at 1.8MW. Its annual electricity production is in the region of 4GWh per year, and along with the Swaffham I turbine, will supply around 70 per cent of the town’s total household electricity requirements.
Scroby wind farm
In 2003-4, the Scroby Sands wind farm was built in the North Sea, 2.5 km off the coast of Great Yarmouth.
The wind farm is expected to produce an average of 60MW of power. It has 30 wind turbines, each with three 40m blades that rotate around a centre-point about 60m above the average sea level.