As any cyclist will tell you, the UK is not short of wind. Studies suggest that we have 40% of Europe’s supply, making wind power a potentially attractive source of renewable energy, although it currently accounts for only 10-11% of electricity supplied.

Locations for wind farms

As turbines need a good, uninterrupted supply of wind to operate efficiently, they tend to be sited on remote, hilly and coastal locations – which are often greatly valued for their wildlife and undeveloped, ‘natural’ aesthetic.

In April 2008, planning permission for the UK’s largest onshore windfarm, a £500million, 181 turbine project on the Island of Lewis, was rejected by the Scottish Government due to its likely impact on birdlife.

Off-shore wind farms

Being out of sight, off-shore farms are generally better received. Turbines have been operating offshore in the UK, Denmark and Germany, for example, for several years with a good reliability record. There is some evidence to show that offshore turbines interfere with maritime radar, and this is being investigated. It is also thought that, being off-limits to fishing boats, off-shore wind-farms may act as mini-marine sanctuaries and provide safe hatcheries for some fish species.

The future for UK wind farms

There are a number of wind farms in development in the UK. Learn more about the future for wind farms.


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