Chris Huhne to unveil turbine drive

More than 2,500 wind turbines will be installed around the coast over the next nine years under plans to be set out today by the Government.

It will promise a dramatic increase in offshore wind generation in an effort to meet the growing demand for electricity and cut carbon emissions.

At present, Britain produces about 1.3GW of energy for the national grid from offshore wind-farms. But Chris Huhne, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, will announce a massive expansion, boosting generation to 18GW, equivalent to 3,000 turbines, with the Government to invest £30m in developing components.

Offshore windpower is in its infancy in Europe, with a current capacity of about 3GW. Unsurprisingly given the length of the British coast, this country has the most turbines, followed by Denmark and the Netherlands.

Mr Huhne, in a statement to MPs on reforming the electricity market, will argue that renewable energy, such as solar energy and water power, is essential to meet Britain's targets on climate change. The Government wants to increase the share of renewable energy to 15 per cent by 2020.