Speaking in a video message to the British Wind Energy Association’s (BWEA) conference on Tuesday, Gordon Brown also announced that UK wind energy has passed the three gigawatt mark.

“We have known for a long time that Britain has the best wind and wave resources in Europe,” he said. “We are now well on our way to exploiting that resource in full.

“From just one gigawatt of installed wind capacity in 2005, this week we will pass three gigawatts.

“We have now overtaken Denmark as the largest producer of offshore wind in the world and over the next 12 years, the North Sea will become to offshore wind what the Gulf of Arabia is to oil production.”

Meanwhile, Mike O’Brien, Minister of State at the new Department of Energy and Climate Change, was visiting wind farms off the coast of Skegness as he expanded on the figures announced by Mr Brown.

“Overtaking Denmark is just the start,” he said. “There are already five more offshore wind farms under construction that will add a further 938 megawatts to our total by the end of next year.

“We are also assessing plans to increase the total by a massive 25 gigawatts in the future. That’s enough electricity for every home in the country.”

The latest batch of turbines installed by Scottish Power Renewables at its Whitelee wind farm is responsible for taking the UK past the 3GW milestone.

Keith Anderson, director of Scottish Power Renewables, told journalists: “I’m really delighted that Scottish Power Renewables has made a significant contribution to the target.”

Reacting to the news, Friend of the Earth’s renewable energy campaigner Nick Rau warned the UK is still near the bottom of the European league table for harnessing renewable energy.

“Government must stop trying to wriggle out of European green energy targets,” he said.

Kate Martin

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