Increasing offshore wind energy
Generating enough energy to power 220,000 homes (around 1.1TWh) will soon be possible at an offshore wind farm in the UK, thanks to a project involving Serco. As part of the drive towards a low-carbon economy, Britain is committed to a huge increase in its number of wind farms. While these are an emission-free way of generating electricity, the blades of wind turbines can interfere with air defence traffic control radar, potentially compromising the security of our borders.
That was the problem faced by a wind farm proposed off the coast of East Anglia - the RAF objected on air security grounds. Simon Bailey, Director of Project Solutions at Serco Energy, came up with an innovative business solution that enabled this environmental project to go ahead. Simon brokered an arrangement that led the wind farm developers - the Crown Estate, on whose submerged land the turbines will be built - and the Department of Energy and Climate Change to fund a new Lockheed Martin Air Defence Radar TPS 77 system for the Ministry of Defence, which Serco as prime contractor installed in late 2011.
When completed in 2012, the Sheringham Shoal Offshore Wind Farm, located 23km off the north Norfolk coast, will be the fourth-largest offshore wind farm in the UK. Consisting of 88 wind turbines, it will reduce CO2 emissions by 500,000 tonnes annually. "The Serco solution will potentially lead to the removal of planning restrictions for up to 5GW of offshore wind power along the east coast of the UK," explains Simon.
- The Windfarm Conundrum [PDF, 1.94 MB]