Thursday, 11 April 2013
London Array Construction Phase Completed
At the flip of a switch, the final piece of the London Array construction phase was recently completed; with little fanfare, we might add. Yet the importance of the event is not lost on proponents of renewable energy. The fact that this milestone has been reached at all is fairly impressive, given all the challenges of constructing the largest offshore wind farm in the world.
Construction on the 175-turbine farm began more than two years ago when the first foundation was laid in March 2011. London Array project director Richard Rigg reminisced about the humble beginnings of the project during his official remarks regarding the completion of the construction phase. He went on to talk about the complex nature of the operation and the accomplishment of completing construction, on schedule, despite often-difficult weather conditions.
The London Array project is a joint project owned in a partnership between Dong Energy, EON, and Masdar. All three hope to take the lessons learned over the last two years and apply them to future wind farm projects. They will be focusing on reducing the cost of offshore wind farms in order to make them more attractive as a renewable energy source.
According to RenewableUK chief executive Maria McCaffrey, completion of the London Array means generation of clean, green electricity for UK homes and businesses. Exactly how much energy will be generated consistently remains to be seen. However, McCaffrey hopes the success of the project will encourage the government to continue supporting wind farms and other renewables as they work out the details of the pending Energy Bill.
In order to design and build future projects power companies will need as much support as they can get. So far, renewables have not proven to be the profit generating businesses their fossil fuel counterparts are. Nevertheless, perhaps the London Array is the first step toward changing that.
The completion of the London Array is mostly good news for the data centre industry inasmuch as green power and cooling is one of the highest priorities now driving the industry forward. Since last year, we have seen a number of new data centre projects taking advantage of creative ways to go green.
With an output of just 630MW, the Thames estuary project is by no means capable of supporting the industry on a large scale. However, for every new project that comes online data centres will have more opportunities to eschew fossil fuels and brown energy in favour of green energy.
As two of the most forward-thinking industries of the day, both the data centre and renewable energy sectors need to work together to achieve better, cheaper results. Computer and data systems technologies are not likely to require less energy in the future, and renewable energy technologies are not likely to remain static. If both industries combined their collective efforts, the rest of the world might be surprised at what they can accomplish.