The UK is facing the prospect of a shortfall in its electricity generation capacity as our demand continues to grow. This ‘Energy Gap’ may not occur for several years to come but investment needs to be made now to prevent the otherwise very real prospect of blackouts at peak times of demand. It has already been acknowledged that development of more nuclear based generation cannot solve the problem in time and it continues to be fraught with political uncertainty and environmental concerns. Therefore greater focus will be on the advancement of renewable energy sources, for example wind turbines and energy conservation initiatives, such as smart metering.
The emergence of onshore wind farms has resulted in conflicting opinions as to their impact on the landscape. Offshore wind farms do not blight our landscapes and are partially hidden under sea. Newest developments in wind turbine technology has allowed ‘Hywind’ the very first world’s floating wind turbine to be created out at sea off the coast of Norway. Similar to other future floating wind turbines, it is connected to mainland grids via cables run along the sea bed. Although this method of connection may have some restrictive factors in terms of expense, since cost increases with longer cables, there is a wealth of advantages for using wind turbines out to sea including the stronger and more consistent wind, use of space in countries where there is a lack of available areas for onshore wind farms, no problems for bird life and tourism and benefits for military radar operations and the shipping industry. It is anticipated that as both the technology and volume increases the price of such off-shore wind turbines will fall in line with their counterpart static turbines. The impact of the pilot Hywind could have major consequences for renewable energy throughout Europe and elsewhere.
Wind is the fastest growing energy source and the UK boasts the best sites for wind farms in Europe. The UK’s seas could provide, via off-shore wind farms, enough extra wind energy to meet a quarter of the UK’s electricity needs and effectively cut carbon emissions. However, wind energy is a variable source – the wind does not blow at a constant speed or from a constant direction, so energy management is of major importance for wind farm energy. These farms and supply grids need to be continually optimised for the prevailing wind speed and direction, and smart metering initiatives will enable end users to reduce wasted energy and peak demand.
With the current energy conscious world aimed at containing fuel resources and reducing such emissions, it is important to encourage energy consumers to easily monitor and manage their usage. ASLH, in partnership with global utility companies, is at the forefront of developing communication coverage
and network services to support and fully maximise renewable energy, Smart Metering and Automated Meter Reading.
Our recently launched SatTrak+
is ideal for metering and telemetry applications within off-shore wind farms and other areas with poor or no mobile coverage/roaming. The SatTrak+
utilises the Iridium satellite constellation of low earth orbit satellites giving a true 100 per cent pole-to-pole global communication coverage.
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ASL Holdings Ltd, please visit:www.aslh.co.uk
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