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Offshore wind energy has potential to expand 300%

wind-turbines-at-seaThe UK’s shores could eventually provide up to 25 gigawatts of additional offshore wind energy, in addition to the 8 gigawatts already built or planned, according to Energy Minister Lord Hunt.

Those findings, a result of the Government’s Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), will enable the Crown Estate to proceed with the third round of leasing in UK’s waters for offshore wind farms.

Officials say offshore wind has the potential to provide the UK with up to 70,000 new jobs and £8 billion in annual revenues.

The new licensing regime for the cables to connect offshore wind farms to the mainland also starts today. The competitive tender process, run by Ofgem, has the potential to save generators £1 billion, officials say. It will also attract new entrants with transmission expertise and offer longer-term stable investment opportunity.

“Offshore wind is fundamental to delivering our target of 15 per cent of renewable energy by 2020, and looking ahead to 2050 to reducing our carbon emissions by 80 per cent,” Lord Hunt was expected to say today in a prepared statement at the British Wind Energy Association wind conference. “We’re already the world’s number one offshore wind power. With the right support, we can grow the industry even further, supporting tens of thousands of high-value, green manufacturing jobs. This presents a huge opportunity for the UK industry.”

“The offshore transmission regime will deliver significant cost savings to current and future consumers and renewable generators and make a real impact in Britain’s drive to tackle climate change,” said Alistair Buchanan, CEO of Ofgem. “It’s a huge opportunity for investment under a long-term, low-risk regulatory regime.”

The Government today also published “A Prevailing Wind: Advancing UK Offshore Wind Deployment.”  The document sets out work that will enable the necessary expansion of the industry.

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