Warm welcome for UK offshore wind plans

Posted: 13 January 2010

Environment groups have welcomed the announcement of nine major wind farms zones around the British Isles, which - if carried through - will put Britain at the top of Europe's wind energy league and create one of the biggest wind infrastructure projects in the world.

UK offshore wind licences map
UK offshore wind licences map
The nine new licences granted by the Crown Estates, which own the sites, include a giant wind farm project at Dogger Bank, about 100 miles off the coast of Yorkshire. Under the proposed scheme this could produce nine gigawatts of energy, but has the potential for 13GW, or 10 per cent of the UK energy needs.

This huge project in an area of over 8000 sq. kms. would be built by a consortium including Npower and Norway's Satkraft. The consortium's commitment is to secure all the necessary development consents in time to allow constuction to begin in 2014.

The second largest zone, with the potential to yield over 7 gigawatta is at Norfolk Bank, has been won by a consortium of Scottish Power Renewables and Sweden's Vattenfall Vindcraft.

Altogether the nine zones could produce a quarter of all the United Kingdom's energy needs, or up to 34 gigawatts of power.

Huge boost

Blyth Offshore Windfarm
Blyth Offshore Windfarm
Blyth, the UK's first offshore windfarm. © E.ON
Welcoming the further details on the next round of offshore wind farms around the UK, Keith Allott, Head of Climate Change at WWF-UK, said:"It's crucial that the UK delivers on its 15 per cent renewable energy target by 2020. These efforts from Government and the Crown Estate to speed up the development of offshore wind power in UK seas will help us move forward in decarbonising the UK's energy supply. This project is the most ambitious of its kind in the world and will be a huge boost to the green economy, creating new jobs in the development of clean energy and helping to power millions of homes."

WWF is calling for full consultation on the proposed sites for the new wind farms, to ensure areas rich in biodiversity such as the Dogger Bank, are not put at risk.

Friends of the Earth's renewable energy campaigner Nick Rau said: "Plans to build thousands of offshore turbines are fantastic news - but the Government must do more to develop the UK's vast wind energy potential and ensure that Britain reaps the benefits of creating thousands of new green jobs.

The full list of wind farm licences is as follows:

The Moray Firth Zone Won by EDP Renovaveis and SeaEnergy Renewables. Potential yield: 1.3 gigawatts

The Firth of Forth ZoneWon by SSE Renewables and Fluor. Potential yield: 3.5 gigawatts

The Dogger Bank ZoneWon by SSE Renewables, RWE Npower Renewables, Statoil and Statkraft. Potential yield: 9 gigawatts

The Hornsea ZoneWon by Mainstream Renewable Power and Siemens Project Ventures, and involving Hochtief Construction. Potential yield: 4 gigawatts

The Norfolk Bank ZoneWon by Scottish Power Renewables and Vattenfall Vindkraft. Potential yield: 7.2 gigawatts

The Hastings ZoneWon by E.On Climate and Renewables UK. Potential yield: 0.6 gigawatts

The Isle of Wight ZoneWon by Eneco New Energy. Potential yield: 0.9 gigawatts

The Bristol Channel ZoneWon by RWE Npower Renewables. Potential yield: 1.5 gigawatts

The Irish Sea ZoneWon by Centrica Renewable Energy and involving RES Group. Potential yield: 4.2 gigawatts.