A lack of experienced renewable energy engineers could put contracts for nine new wind turbine projects in jeopardy as there are not enough suitably qualified people to install the turbines at their designated locations in the Firth of Forth and Moray Firth in the Scottish Highlands.
The development partners were announced today by the Crown Estate for the nine Round 3 offshore wind turbine development zones that would provide a further 1000 wind turbines to be constructed from 2014 contributing a significant amount to Britain’s renewable energy targets. The Crown Estate is responsible for any renewable energy developments in UK waters.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown has commented on the announcement, saying that this development puts Britain ahead of all the other countries in the world. He went on to say,
“This new round of licences provides a substantial new platform for investing in UK industrial capacity. The offshore wind industry is at the heart of the UK economy’s shift to low carbon, potentially worth £75bn and supporting up to 70,000 clean-energy jobs by 2020.”
There is further concern that a lack of installation equipment could impact on the projects with further delays. In order to install off-shore wind turbines at sea, lay barges which are specially equipped vessels that are used to lay pipes through which the electricity is transmitted back to shore and feeds into the National Grid.
There have been a number of concerns from wind industry professionals about the intermittent nature of wind power compared to the more controllable consistent power obtained from burning fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas. Due to the fact that wind power is only available when the wind is blowing, there will be times when there is little or no energy being produced, and others when the turbines produce a more significant amount of energy. Therefore those opposed to wind power often argue that wind power is unsustainable and unreliable because a back-up system would be required to support the wind power stations.
Whether wind power is to be a significant future contributor or just help reduce Britain’s demand for fossil fuels, there is still a huge amount that needs to be done to research into clean energy technology and reduce the country’s hunger for fossil fuel.