Speaking at the 25th anniversary conference and exhibition of the British Wind Energy Association (BWEA), Energy Minister Stephen Timms today reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to the renewable energy industry with £59 million of new funding for offshore wind farms.
Six wind farms off the shores of Lancashire, North Wales, Lincolnshire, Essex and Norfolk will share the capital grant.
The six projects awarded funding will have a combined capacity of 531MW, enough to power 350,000 homes. Each wind farm will consist of 30 turbines. Construction is expected to begin between 2004 and 2005. All the capital grants announced today are subject to final State Aids clearance by the European Commission.
Today’s announcement comes as a new survey, ‘Attitudes and Knowledge of Renewable Energy amongst the General Public’ is published highlighting favourable levels of public support for renewable energy. 90% of the British public think it is a ‘good idea’, with two thirds favouring renewable energy sources over fossil fuels.
‘We are now on a path to achieve the fastest growth rate of any country in Europe in our renewable energy sector over this decade,’ said Timms. ‘Twenty-five years ago, few would have imagined that by 2010, we would be looking at UK wind generating capacity being able to power one in six households.’
The Minister addressed the conference on the second day of his week-long tour of renewable projects around the UK. On Monday he visited the UK’s first major offshore wind farm – North Hoyle, near Rhyl, operated by National Wind Power – due to start supplying power on to the grid before Christmas.