The British Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has picked out ten of the best green energy projects that began generating electricity in 2005. Here they are:
1. Offshore windfarm: Kentish Flats, Thames Estuary, off Herne Bay (Elsam Engineering) - Costing £105m, this 90mw scheme is the third offshore windfarm to be built in UK waters. The project has 30 huge turbines, each measuring 90m and able to generate enough power for 3500 homes. They have been described by one windfarm builder as "the Ferrari of the turbine world."
2. Solar: CIS Building, Manchester - Originally built in 1962 as the headquarters for the Co-operative insurance company and currently undergoing a major refurbishment, including the installation of solar panels on the south, east and west of the building. Part funded by the DTI's solar grant scheme, this will be the biggest usage of solar panels in the UK. It will be fully completed in January 2006 but was officially opened by Prime Minister in November.
3. Onshore windfarm: Black Law A, South Lanarkshire, Scotland (Scottish Power) - Designed to provide green energy for 70,000 homes, this 62 turbine, 143 MW is currently one of the largest UK windfarms to have been approved.
4. Biomass: Balcas' renewable energy plant, Enniskillan, N.Ireland - This facility includes a combined heat and power (CHP) plant and an operation that produces a revolutionary new wood pellet bio fuel. It is the first biomass facility in the world to produce a renewable heating fuel using energy created by burning sawdust and wood chips. Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks officially opened the site in November.
5. Microgeneration: Spen Valley Sports Centre, Liversedge, Nr Leeds, West Yorkshire - A project developed by the student council after consultation with the local community, this mixed secondary school succesfully applied for a grant under the DTI Clear Skies scheme and was awarded half of the cost of installing a 15m / 15KW wind turbine. As well as promoting renewable energy in the locality through high visibility, data from the turbine is also used by the students for study in class.
6. Solar: Eden Centre, St Austell, Cornwall - The Eden Trust is well known for its environmentally-engineered biodomes, which provide ideal growing conditions for non-native plants. This well visited Eden tourist attraction aims to promote understanding and responsible management of the relationship between plants, people and resources. The solar panels on its new education centre are also helping to promote renewable energy. The installation was again part funded by the DTI.
7. Onshore windfarm: Cefn Croes, nr Aberystwyth, Wales (Falck Renewables) - This was the most powerful windfarm in the UK when it opened in June. A 39-turbine scheme with the potential to produce 58MW, which can supply 42,000 homes with electricity. It is estimated that it will save 4 million tonnes of CO2 emissions over its 25-year lifetime.
8. Marine: Wave buoy, north Cornwall - This £70,000, state of the art energy buoy was launched into the Atlantic Ocean in February by the Renewable Energy Agency for the South West. Designed to record wave activity and measure wave power, the project will speed up the installation of one of the world's first wave farms, which could be in place within the next three years. The buoy is sited in an area that is being investigated as a possible location for the Wave Hub - an offshore electrical socket that would be connected to the national grid by an underwater cable.
9. Solar: East Hall, the Science Museum, London - The Science Museum in London is a world-renowned exhibition centre for all types of scientific exploration and applications. A solar energy installation has been incorporated into the roof of the East Hall. The East Hall houses an internationally significant collection of early steam engines and is the first hall that visitors come to. A large energy exhibition mainly concentrating on the future of energy supply is planned and the solar energy system will be a central feature. As with the two other solar projects in the top ten, this was part funded by the DTI.
10. Microgeneration: Nissan Motor Plant, Sunderland - The first of its kind for any Nissan facility in the world, this £2 million scheme has six turbines producing 5% of the annual energy requirement of the 750-acre site. The turbines will also reduce the carbon emissions from power plants supplying the factory by 10,000 tonnes a year.