Geography Education
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The London Array

The London Array | Geography Education |

Twenty kilometers (12 miles) from England’s Kent and Essex coasts, the world’s largest offshore wind farm has started harvesting the breezes over the sea. Located in the Thames Estuary, where the River Thames meets the North Sea, the London Array has a maximum generating power of 630 megawatts (MW), enough to supply as many as 500,000 homes.

The wind farm became fully operational on April 8, 2013. Twenty days later, the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on the Landsat 8 satellite captured this image of the area. The second image is a closeup of the area marked by the white box in the top image. White points in the second image are the wind turbines; a few boat wakes are also visible. The sea is discolored by light tan sediment—spring runoff washed out by the Thames.

Albert Jordan's curator insight, January 29, 2014 8:16 PM

England is in a peculiar situation due to their geographic location limiting their ability to expand outward and collect homegrown resources. As the first world nations push towards a “greener” and more sustainable energy producing ability, the effects of trying to help the Earth, both positive and negative need to be taken into effect. As some opponents to the wind farm have brought up, it can negatively affect the bird species in the area. What matters most? England’s attempt to wean themselves off of unsustainable resource dependence in order to enhance the future generations may be seen as a positive but with every action, there is a reaction.

 The issue that comes up as we humans try to better our relationship with the Earth in an effort not to destroy our home, paired with our lust for a healthy and non-apocalyptic future that we can still absorb ourselves into social media – do we negatively impact local animal species for our greater cause or do we limit our footprint even if it takes a viable option for the enhancement of our own resource dependence off the table. I guess if the long term effect on the birds and the resulting issues of their no longer presence was fully and responsibly researched and the pros and cons were compared to each other, then time will tell if the wind farm does more harm or good.

Shiva Prakash's curator insight, February 3, 2014 11:21 PM

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Tracy Galvin's curator insight, May 5, 2014 3:08 PM

It is very nice to see alternative forms of energy being explored. The conscious effort to cut carbon emissions is a benefit for the entire planet.

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