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Shippers: Offshore Wind Farms May Cause Hazards, Increase Emissions

wind_turbines1.jpgThe British government has set a target of having wind generate at least one-third of all its electricity within 12 years. It also wants 33 gigawatts of electricity-generation capacity to be built in the seas around the country by 2020. But the Department for Transport has told the wind industry that shipping operators are concerned about plans to build offshore wind farms to meet the government’s targets, Telegraph reports.

Shipping operators fear the wind turbines, some times more than 600 feet tall, will be a navigation hazard in areas that are already busy. In addition, they say diverting ships around the wind farms may lead to an increase in CO2 emissions and cancel out much of the wind farm’s CO2 savings.

Research also suggests that such large structures may interfere with ships’ radar and make it hard to spot other ships.

The London Array project plans to erect a constellation of more than 340 wind turbines in the outer Thames Estuary, roughly seven miles off the Kent Coast. It is expected to become the world’s largest offshore wind farm when completed, Array will generate more electricity than the largest offshore farm operational today — Denmark’s Middelgrunden offshore wind farm.

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