A massive expansion of offshore wind was announced today by Energy Minister Brian Wilson, with the approval of plans to build 60 turbines in the Thames Estuary and in the Irish Sea off Cumbria.
It is estimated that the Kentish Flats and Barrow wind farms will bring green electricity to 180,000 UK homes.
The announcement builds on last month’s Energy White Paper, which set out plans for a 60% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 to be achieved in part by increased investment in wind power and other forms of renewable energy.
‘These wind farms will play an important role in reaching our challenging White Paper targets,’ said Mr Wilson. ‘The benefits of offshore wind are not just environmental. It also presents British industry with a number of opportunities for job creation and investment in manufacturing and construction, especially given the many years of experience gained from oil and gas activity in the North Sea.’
The first wind farm for the Thames Estuary will be built on the Kentish Flats by GREP UK Marine 8.5km north of Herne Bay in Kent. Construction is due to start in 2004.
Warwick Energy will build Cumbria’s first wind farm 7.5km south west of Walney Island. Work on the development is scheduled to begin in Spring 2004 for completion that autumn.