Offshore wind farm approved

A major offshore wind farm project off the north west coast of England has been given the green light by the Government.

Energy minister Malcolm Wicks approved the wind farm, which will be located 14 kilometres from Walney Island, near the Cumbrian coast.

The developer, Danish firm DONG Energy, is expected to install between 93 and 152 turbines, providing enough electricity for approximately 360,000 homes when it becomes fully operational in 2013.

On the same day, Mr Wicks also gave approval for an overhead electricity line that will eventually connect the wind farm for the 1,000MW London Array to an onshore sub-station in Kent.

The London Array is expected to be the world’s largest offshore wind project.

The minister said these moves underlined the Government’s commitment to increase the use of renewable energy sources in the UK.

Mr Wicks said: “Our belief in renewables has been questioned recently by some but actions do speak louder than worlds.

“We are delivering on our promises to get projects such as Walney and the London Array through the system.

“The Energy Bill will allow us to increase the amount of backing schemes like this get from the Renewables Obligation.

“People should recognise that the UK, along with Denmark, is leading the world in the development of offshore wind power.”

Approval of the wind farm followed the Queen’s Speech last week, which confirmed the introduction of the Energy Bill.

This Bill includes the Renewables Obligation, which requires licensed electricity suppliers to source 15% of the electricity they supply from renewable sources by 2015-16.

The Government now plans to use the Renewables Obligation to provide increased financial support to less developed renewable energy technologies, such as offshore wind.

Kate Martin

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