Fifteen British projects will be offered leases to develop projects off the coast of the UK

This represents between 5.4 and 7.2GW of new offshore wind energy capacity

The British Wind Energy Association (BWEA), the UK's largest renewable energy association with nearly 300 company members, has welcomed the 'Round 2' announcement that fifteen projects, representing between 5.4 and 7.2GW of new wind capacity, will be offered leases to develop projects off the coast of the UK. When completed these projects will provide power equivalent to 4 million homes, or one in six of UK households. Details of the sites, together with the developers chosen to build them, were revealed by the Crown Estate, which leases the seabeds around the UK. The sites will be built in three strategic areas of shallow sea: the Thames Estuary; Greater Wash; and the North West. 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, which will provide up to 1.2 GW of generating capacity. The announcement follows the commissioning in November of the UK's first large-scale offshore wind farm at North Hoyle in Wales and an important government decision, taken on December 1st, to boost investor confidence by expanding the renewable obligation from 10% by 2010 to 15% by 2015.

Commenting on the historic announcement Marcus Rand, Chief Executive of the BWEA said: '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. This is a win, win, win for our industry, our environment and our economy as these fifteen projects will create thousands of new jobs and provide clean power for one in six UK homes. It is critical that we now work with all stakeholders to ensure these projects quickly obtain consents and the necessary finance to ensure they are built on time. These projects alone should help us achieve at least half the Government's 10% by 2010 renewable target.' The UK wind industry is widely recognised as playing the leading role in delivering clean renewable power for the nation over the next decade helping us meet the government's target of providing 10% of electricity from renewables by 2010. The industry already has planning consents in place for new wind farms, on and offshore, equivalent to some two and half percent of the UK's total electricity needs (2.5GW). The announcement is equivalent to up to a further seven percent of supply (7GW).

Currently 1.2GW of offshore projects under 'Round 1' have been consented. One of these, at North Hoyle, is complete and another, at Scroby Sands, is currently under construction. At present the UK wind industry has an installed capacity of some 640 MW of projects onshore and offshore (including 100 MW commissioned in 2003) and generates clean power equivalent to the requirements of over 400,000 UK households. BWEA also announced this month that it will be holding its third Offshore Wind Conference in March 2004 and delegates will be addressed by Stephen Timms, Energy Minister, on the opening day and will be receiving updates on the progress of the announced projects.
Online editorial www.windfair.net
Trevor Sievert, Online editorial journalist
Britain, UK, BWEA, offshore wind energy, renewable power

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