Plans for the world’s largest offshore wind farms moved a step closer today with the announcement of 15 new sites around the UK coastline.
The sites will be built in three strategic areas of shallow sea around the Thames Estuary, Greater Wash, and the North West.
The wind farms, which are expected to be producing electricity by the end of the decade, will provide between 5.4 and 7.2 Gigawatts (GW) of generating capacity – enough electricity for more than one in six UK households.
Today’s announcement comes weeks after the Government announced proposals to boost financial support for renewable energy by extending and raising the level of the Renewables Obligation and giving more financial stability to investors.
‘This is the biggest expansion of renewable energy anywhere in the world, and demonstrates that we are serious about moving towards a cleaner, greener future,’ said Energy Minister Stephen Timms.
‘In July we invited The Crown Estate to invite developers to apply to build the new generation of offshore wind farms,’ added Timms. ‘The response from companies was overwhelming, allowing us to select proposals, which promise to provide electricity for 4 million homes.’
A new Energy Bill, which is currently going through Parliament, will enable developers to build wind farms more than 12 nautical miles out to sea, beyond territorial waters.
Of the 15 wind farms, three are fully outside territorial waters and include the world’s largest proposed offshore wind farm, in the Greater Wash area, 30- 40km off the Lincolnshire Coast, which could have up to 250 or more turbines, and provide up to 1.2 GW of generating capacity.
‘We have the best wind resource in Europe and today’s announcement puts the UK in the fast lane to becoming a world leader in developing it offshore,’ commented Marcus Rand, CEO of the British Wind Energy Association.