UK Prime Minister David Cameron was on hand to cut the ribbon on the London Array, a 630 megawatt (MW) capacity offshore wind farm located near the East Anglia coast. It is the biggest such facility in the world, and represents a major step forward for the UK, which has been one of the global leaders in renewable energy, particularly in the field of offshore wind.
The London Array has 175 turbines which provide enough electricity to power 470,000 homes. Although it began generating energy back in April, the ceremony on July 4 featuring Prime Minister Cameron was the official opening.
"This is a great day for Britain and a big win for renewable energy," Cameron told the Guardian. "London Array shows you can build large-scale renewable energy projects right here in Britain. This is because when it comes to clean energy, the UK has one of the clearest investment climates globally."
It's expected that the London Array will save 925,000 tons of carbon emissions every year.
Offshore wind farms have received some opposition from members of the Tory Party in the UK, who believe such projects are too expensive. The facility is owned by a partnership between Dong Energy of Denmark, E.On of Germany and Masdar, of Abu Dhabi.
In the United States, offshore turbines have a long way to go before they become as ubiquitous as they are in the UK, which has a total generating capacity of 3.6 gigawatts (GW). The U.S. currently has one offshore windmill, which produces enough electricity for four homes, according to Grist, an environmental news site. But there are many projects in the planning stages that could expand that generating capacity, so stay tuned to LifeIsGreen.com for more updates on the growing renewable energy industry.