The start of windpower?

The start of windpower?

SOMETHING ON THE HORIZON: Yellow Advertiser's chief photographer Mark Cleveland took this shot from Shoebury East Beach. It clearly shows a series of mystery white structures out at sea, miles beyond the war-time wooden submarine boom in the foreground. Surely work hasn't started on constructing the wind turbines just yet?

£1.5bn plan to build 270 turbines offshore

THE WORLD’S biggest wind farm could be built off the coast of Southend by 2008 if plans submitted this week be given the go-ahead.

The plans to build hundreds of wind turbines at a cost of £1.5bn were handed over to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) on Monday by a consortium of companies known as London Array Limited.

The wind farm, made up of 270 turbines, could generate enough electricity for either the whole of Essex, all of Kent and east Sussex, or one quarter of London.

The turbines would be situated around 12 miles east of Southend and would be ‘just about visible’ from land. They would take up around 152 square miles of the Thames Estuary.

The consortium of companies, which includes Shell WindEnergy Limited, E.ON UK Renewables, and CORE Limited, won the right to lease the offshore in 2003.

A spokesman for the consortium said: “The site is ideal because the UK is one of tthe windiest parts of Europe, meaning power will be constantly generated.

Andrew Murfin, vice president of development for Shell WindEnergy, said that the planned site would not be a disruption to the coastline and will not be a noise nuisance.

He explained: “The planned site is 12 miles off of the coast meaning that it would only look like tiny pins on the horizon on an extremely clear day.

“The beneficial aspect of wind power is that more energy will be generated in winter when the wind is stronger. which is the time of year when people use more electricity.”

FoE renewables manager, Nick Raw, said: “We have been pushing for companies like Shell and BP to move into renewables for a long time now. They are now putting real money into these projects.”

However, Southend Council’s portfolio holder for sustainable Southend, David Garston, was less positive about the plans.

He said: “On the face of it Southend isn’t going to benefit from this. We wont have any advantages, yet we will have all the environmental disadvantages.

“It is worrying that the wind farm could spoil the view from the foreshore. I would like to know a lot more about it.”

Potential obstacles to the wind farm getting the green light include shipping hazards, radar interference, the impact on wildlife and the envonment, and interference with low-flying aircraft.

Officials say it could take up to a year before the DTI makes its final decision on whether or not to give the consortium permission to construct the wind farm.

  • What do you think? Is this a major step forward in the production of renewable energy, or is Southend’s coastline being used for something which may not benefit the town? Write to Suzi Muston, Southend Yellow Advertiser, Acorn House, Great Oaks, Basildon, Essex, SS14 1AH.

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