In all the sites have the potential for 6,400 turbines, which will generate around 32GW of power.

The sites have the potential according to Gordon Brown to create a £75 billion offshore wind industry supporting up to 70,000 clean energy jobs by 2020.

The successful bidders for the sites, part of round three of the process, were announced this morning (January 8) by The Crown Estate.

The Crown Estate, earns money for the treasury by managing land owned by the state, and believes a quarter of UK energy could be generated from the new sites.

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.

“This announcement will make a significant and practical contribution to reducing our CO2 emissions and the Government will work with developers and The Crown Estate to support the growing offshore wind industry and help remove barriers to rapid development.”

Chief executive of Narec, technology advisor to the Crown Estate, Andrew Mill, believes that today’s announcement is a ‘huge step forward’ for the UK.

He said: “The announcement of consortia to develop new capacity is fundamental and the stature of those companies awarded contracts provides great confidence that targets will be achieved.

“Proving the technologies in the new larger turbines required for round three, before they are installed further offshore, will be a critical factor to accelerating the rate of installations and reducing the lifetime costs of new wind farms.”

However the RSPB’s head of sustainable development, Martin Harper, was concerned for wildlife.

He said: “We have supported the UK Government targets for 33GW of renewable energy to come from offshore wind farms

“Yet, in the wrong place, wind farms can cause problems for wildlife, for example, birds may collide with wind turbines or be displaced from their habitat or food resources.”

The sites 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.

Luke Walsh

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