Financially, if not ornithologically, however, Sykes – UK manager for wind power for DONG Energy – has an interest in the fate of this little bird. The Danish company and its partners, Germany’s E.On and UAE’s Masdar, have just built the world’s biggest offshore wind farm, the London Array.
The 175-turbine, £1.9bn project sprawls across almost 40 square miles, some 12 miles north off the Kent coast.
With 630MW capacity it is capable of powering 500,000 homes a year. It also happens to be close the spot where thousands of red-throated divers like to spend winter. The project, formally opened by David Cameron on Thursday, had its design amended amid concern for the birds.
Leave aside all the stuff about intermittency, cost (horrendous) and backup. The one thing I\’ve not seen a decent discussion of is maintenance costs. I\’m sure there is one out there. But marine environments are very well known indeed for having vast maintenance costs over the 25 year expected lifespan of this array. Would anyone who actually knows about this (there are, I know, several engineering types reading) care to comment on this?
I rather get the impression that he politicians and boosters seem to think that once you\’ve built the things then you just get the free energy for 25 years. And I\’m absolutely certain that sticking 175 turbiones in the North Sea is going to require significant ongoing cost.