A good week for renewables in the UK? Thursday 23rd September saw the official opening of the world's largest offshore windfarm. Based in Kent, it will generate enough energy to power 200,000 homes and be provided by a total of 341 turbines, with construction to be finalized over the next 4 years, However there has been dismay that only 20% of the potential labour force/supply chain will come from the UK. Take a trip further north and on the same day,we see the First Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond, announce that he is increasing Scotland's renewable energy target from 50% by 2020, to 80%, coincided with The Crown Estate announcing that they will be offering a second round of leases for wave and tidal energy projects in Scottish waters, worth an estimated £10 million, in connection with the Scottish Government's Saltire Prize. And more good news, The Crown Estate's wave and tidal Pentland Firth projects have won the 2010 Euromoney and Ernst & Young Renewable Energy Landmark Renewable Deal of the Year Award. But, will there be the same supply chain issues in Scotland that are apparent in England, which have been described as 'an awkward reality check for the government, and the promises of 'green' jobs that will result from renewable investment'?
This is a key concern for Scottish Enterprise which is hosting the Scottish Low Carbon Investment Conference in Edinburgh on the 28th and 29th September. WSP are pleased to have been invited to participate as a Panel Expert for the Theme session with regard to overcoming the risks, building infrastructure, and enabling the supply chain for Offshore Wind. This is a very pro-active step and WSP are at the forefront of these issues in an advisory role.
But, this week has also seen comments from the Met Office that temperatures across Europe are likely to rise by 20C come 2040, where 40.C heat waves could become a regularity in the UK unless carbon emissions are urgently reduced. So whilst we celebrate a good week for renewables, is it too little too late?