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United Kingdom

United Kingdom

HEADING FOR A BUSY YEAR OF DEVELOPMENT

Installed wind farm capacity in the UK rose by almost a third in 1995 as seven new projects came on line bringing the total to just over 190 MW supplied by 29 plants. Their output was equivalent to the electricity needs of over 250,000 people and saved 300,000 tonnes of C02, says the BWEA. Most development took place in Northern Ireland with one scheme commissioned in England. Currently there is 38.6 MW under construction and a further 45 MW with planning permission, including several in Scotland.

Installed capacity in the United Kingdom rose by almost one-third during 1995 as seven new wind farms came on line during the year. Their output brought total UK capacity up to just over 190 MW by the end of December and increased the number of wind farms to 29.

Northern Ireland is where most of this development took place. The province made its first substantial contribution to UK output with the commissioning of five of the six wind energy projects that won contracts under its first round of renewables support, the Northern Ireland Non Fossil Fuel Obligation, NI NFFO-1. Indeed, Northern Ireland's turbines outperformed England's for the year, despite the fact that none were generating before March.

Meanwhile, only one new wind scheme was commissioned in England where, because of the three year lull in awarding renewable energy contracts under the NFFO for England and Wales, wind farm construction had slowed to the merest trickle. Yet relief for some British wind developers had already arrived in the form of the latest rounds of renewables support. Contracts awarded under the third round of the Non-Fossil Fuel Obligation for England and Wales (NFFO-3) and Scotland's first renewables obligation (SRO-1) were announced by government in December 1994. Since then most successful bidders have been busily steering their projects through the planning system. There are now 38.6 MW of NFFO-3 schemes under construction and a further 45 MW with planning permission.

The scheme which won the race to be the first wind farm to be built under the latest round of renewables contracts is Trigen's Hagshaw Hill project in Scotland. This scored a double first since it is also Scotland's first wind farm. A further six SRO contracted schemes already have planning consent from their respective local authorities, but all are awaiting final permission for development of their sites from the Scottish Secretary of State -- an extra hurdle in the planning process that is unique to Scotland.

Nineteen ninety-five saw a steady increase in output from Britain's wind farms says, the British Wind Energy Association (BWEA). According to BWEA figures, output rose by 10% over 1994 with wind turbines in Britain producing nearly 350 GWh of electricity last year. This is equivalent to the electricity needs of over 250,000 people and saved 300,000 tonnes of C02, says the BWEA's Hugh Babington Smith. Moreover, this does not include the contribution from small wind energy schemes of less than 1 MW. Output statistics also reveal that wind turbines in Wales generated well over half the total wind energy production of Britain, confirming the country is considerably windier than neighbouring England.

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