UK windfarm and environmental targets—are we on course?

UK windfarm and environmental targets—are we on course?

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Hornsea Project Two, which is intended to be the world’s largest windfarm, has been given development consent by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (DBEIS). The windfarm aims to deliver up to 1,800 megawatts (MWs) of low carbon energy to around 1.8 million homes.

What will be the environment and energy impact of the largest ever windfarm, which is to be built in the UK?

Anita Lloyd, director at Squire Patton Boggs, comments on the project and government targets, and says there appears to be an increased focus on renewable energy sources on the part of government.

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What is the background to this story?

The UK government has a target of 15% of its energy consumption coming from renewable sources by 2020, although recent reports indicate that the UK will fall short of this by 3.5% (which equates to about 50 TWh). The Committee on Climate Change’s latest report also says that the government is not on track to meet its pledge of cutting emissions 80% by 2050—so more efforts to decarbonise are needed to meet both the short and long term targets.

In the Budget in March 2016, George Osborne announced £730m of funding for ‘less established’ renewables. There will be contracts for difference (CfD) of up to £730m for up to 4GW of offshore wind and other less established renewables. Shortly before the budget speech, the then Prime Minister David Cameron also said the UK would cut power sector emissions by 85% by 2030, which is in line with the Committee on Climate Change’s fifth carbon budget.

Added to that context is the Paris Agreement which will shortly come into force, under which the UK is currently part of the EU bloc’s commitment to ‘at least 40% domestic reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030’.

Hornsea Project Two will be able to take advantage of some of that government funding, and will contribute to meeting the renewables targets. It will be built 55 miles off the coast of Grimsby, with an expected 80–300 turbines (276m high), spanning an area of 483 square kilometres.

Are there likely to be any environmental issues if the project goes ahead?

While the implications for the environment on a macro level are positive, on a micro level there may be adverse effec

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