21 November 2003 - Britain plugged in to its vast natural wind power potential today with the launch of the country's first major offshore wind farm, off the North Wales coast. The pioneering development has been built 4 - 5 miles off the coast of Rhyl and Prestatyn and will generate enough clean electricity for up to 50 000 homes each year.
Backed by Prime Minister Tony Blair and environmental group Greenpeace, the wind farm has been developed by National Wind Power, sister company to npower, who supplies renewable energy to more UK households than anyone else.
Built in just eight months, the 30-turbine wind farm will prevent the release of about 160 000 tonnes of harmful carbon dioxide into our atmosphere every year.
Alan Moore, Managing Director of National Wind Power said, "All too often people think of the big issues like global warming and feel powerless to do anything about it. With North Hoyle and the clean electricity it generates for npower Juice, we can help people make a difference. For every unit of electricity a Juice customer uses from the electricity grid, we will replace that with energy from North Hoyle - effectively helping to reduce the greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere. This is a fantastic day for renewable energy and Wales has every right to be proud. The North Hoyle Offshore Wind Farm and npower Juice are leading the way in this new era of clean electricity generation. This is a first for Wales and a first for Great Britain.," he said.
Stephen Tindale, Executive Director of Greenpeace UK said North Hoyle's construction marks an important first step towards a cleaner future for the UK. He said: "This is the beginning of mainstream offshore wind power development and the dawn of a new era. Global warming is the greatest threat facing the planet, but the power flowing ashore today demonstrates we have the solutions to tackle it. It's great news for all our futures."
Energy Minister Stephen Timms also gave his backing saying: "I visited North Hoyle earlier this year and saw for myself the wind farm under construction. I think everybody understands that we do have to change the way that we consume and generate electricity and this is a very welcome and very important step in the right direction."
In an address to be broadcast at the 'switch-on' of the wind farm, the Prime Minister congratulated those involved in the project. "Rolling out this first large-scale offshore wind venture is a highly significant step toward achieving Britain's renewables targets. We are on course for a future that can be transformed by the use of clean forms of energy," he said.
npower Juice Fund launched to boost future green energy projects.
npower and Greenpeace today also announced the creation of the "npower Juice Fund", designed to encourage projects in other renewable energy fields such as wave and tidal energy.
npower will make a contribution of £10 for every customer of 12 months standing, up to a maximum of £500 000 per year. The fund will be used throughout the UK to help support research into new renewable technologies.
North Hoyle was developed by National Wind Power, part of RWE Innogy, Britain's largest producer of renewable energy.
A consortium comprising Vestas Celtic Wind Technology and Mayflower Energy, both UK-based companies constructed North Hoyle. Approximately 85 per cent of the capital expenditure of North Hoyle has been placed with companies based in the UK.
Studies indicate that in theory offshore wind could supply the total UK electricity requirement. In addition, the skills acquired over the decades in the oil and gas industry make the UK uniquely positioned to exploit this abundant renewable resource, with substantial potential for job creation in the new industry.