Copper – Essential ingredient to the UK’s off-shore wind ambitions:

The UK is placing reliance on a metal, the supply of which some argue is as subject to individual and institutional speculation, manipulation and supply constraint as current oil and gas supplies.
Does it follow that using more of that metal per unit of electricity generating capacity makes the country’s energy supply more secure?

Copper use-age for on-Shore wind turbines;
On average, UK wind farms require 5.64 tonnes of copper per MW of rated capacity installed. That’s 1.6t/MW in the turbine and 4.04t/MW for the cabling.

Copper use-age for off-Shore wind turbines:
On average UK offshore wind farms require 9.58 tonnes / MW.
That’s 1.75t/MW in the turbine and 6.05t/MW for the cabling to the sub-station.

As of Jan 2011, the UK has the largest off-shore wind power capacity in Europe, installing a total of 1,341 MW.

As stated in the UK Renewable Energy Strategy, the current UK plan is to install approximately 12GW of additional on-shore wind power capacity and 25GW off-shore
by 2030. Using an average copper intensity of 5.64 tonnes/MW it has been estimated that this will require 208,680 tonnes of copper.

Bringing this into sharp relief is the announcement in April 2010 by Vattenfall, which is currently installing a thirty-turbine wind farm off Barrow-in-Furness, that it finished three months of cable engineering works by completing the connection from the Ormonde Offshore Wind Farm to the UK’s National Grid.
This required a 42km export cable made largely of copper.
We need to find an alternative to power transmission, how about power (energy) storage in the form of hydrogen?
Sources include: Energy Saving’s trust and Ian Keith Falconer.