Go-ahead given to develop offshore wind farms

A A A

A number of companies were today given the go-ahead to develop new offshore wind farms, potentially paving the way for a massive expansion in renewable energy around the UK's shores.

The Crown Estate confirmed the winners of round three of leasing UK waters for wind farms, which could provide enough energy to power the equivalent of 19 million homes.



The expansion of offshore wind is part of a £100 billion strategy to boost renewable power and according to the Government has the potential to meet more than a quarter of the UK's electricity needs.



Prime Minister Gordon Brown said today's announcement would make a "significant and practical contribution" to cutting the UK's carbon emissions and create tens of thousands of jobs.



The companies awarded the rights to develop offshore wind in nine different areas include major energy companies such as E.ON, RWE Npower, Scottish Power and Centrica.



The nine zones include sites in the Irish Sea, the Bristol Channel, the Moray Firth, the Firth of Forth, off the coast of Norfolk and west of the Isle of Wight, and construction could begin by 2013-2015.



But offshore wind is facing a "cost hump" with costs doubling from the first round of licensing to new projects because of a falling exchange rate, high commodity costs and a lack of competition between manufacturers - with the industry dominated by just two turbine-makers.



Offshore wind also faces other hurdles such as getting connected to the grid, industry body BWEA said.



There are also concerns the manufacturing capacity and jobs created could end up going abroad.



As the announcement was made today, the Prime Minister insisted the Government and Crown Estate would work with developers to support the industry and remove barriers to rapid development.



Mr Brown said: "Our policies in support of offshore wind energy have already put us ahead of every other country in the world.



"This new round of licences provides a substantial new platform for investing in UK industrial capacity.



"The offshore wind industry is at the heart of the UK economy's shift to low carbon and could be worth £75 billion and support up to 70,000 jobs by 2020."



Energy Secretary Ed Miliband said: "Our island has one of the best wind energy resources in Europe and today's news shows we're creating the right conditions for the energy industry to invest in harnessing it.



"This is one of the strongest signals yet that the UK is locked irreversibly into a low carbon, energy secure prosperous future."



The developers which have been awarded the right to exclusively develop the zones, and the potential renewable energy capacity they could deliver, are:



* Moray Firth Zone - Moray Offshore Renewables Ltd which is 75% owned by EDP Renovaveis and 25% owned by SeaEnergy Renewables - 1.3 GW;



* Firth of Forth Zone - SeaGreen Wind Energy Ltd equally owned by SSE Renewables and Fluor - 3.5 GW;



* Dogger Bank Zone - the Forewind Consortium equally owned by each of SSE Renewables, RWE Npower Renewables, Statoil and Statkraft - 9 GW;



* Hornsea Zone - Siemens Project Ventures and Mainstream Renewable Power, a consortium equally owned by Mainstream Renewable Power and Siemens Project Ventures and involving Hochtief Construction - 4 GW;



* Norfolk Bank Zone - East Anglia Offshore Wind Ltd equally owned by Scottish Power Renewables and Vattenfall Vindkraft - 7.2 GW;



* Hastings Zone - Eon Climate and Renewables UK - 0.6 GW;



* West of Isle of Wight Zone - Eneco New Energy - 0.9 GW;



* Bristol Channel Zone - RWE Npower Renewables, the UK subsidiary of RWE Innogy - 1.5 GW;



* Irish Sea Zone - Centrica Renewable Energy and involving RES Group - 4.2 GW.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Mario Balotelli (left) trudges off at half-time last night, to be substituted during the interval
football
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Life and Style
Could you tell the difference between this and an organic alternative?
food + drink

Culinary experts in The Netherlands thought it was 'fresh' and 'tasty'

Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to US
Life and Style
tech

Of all the computers Apple has ever made there’s only one that Steve Jobs had to sell his car to finance

News
New look: Zellweger at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday

Actress sees off speculation about her face in an amazing way

Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidates on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
News
Call me Superman: one of many unusual names chosen by Chinese students
newsChinese state TV offers advice for citizens picking a Western moniker
Arts and Entertainment
film

Marvel has released first teaser trailer week early after it leaked online

Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
News
Let’s pretend: KidZania in Tokyo
educationKidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

EBD Teacher

£120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you a quailed Teacher ...

Part Time SEN 1:1 Teacher

£40 - £80 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you an experience SEN Te...

ICT/Business Studies Teacher

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: ICT/Business Studies ...

Front end web developer - URGENT CONTRACT

£250 - £300 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT** Our...

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?