farms, energy minister Stephen Timms told BBC Radio Four's Today programme
be doubled, he said. 'There are environmental issues that need to be
addressed and the planning system is doing that for us', he said. 'But the
principle is very widely supported. We just need to turn that into reality'.
He was commenting prior to underlining the government's commitment to a carbon-free energy future.
Speaking at the 25th anniversary conference and exhibition of the
British Wind Energy Association (BWEA), the minister reaffirmed the
government's commitment to the renewable energy industry with
£59m of new funding for offshore wind farms.
Six offshore wind farms will share the capital grant:
-Burbo, in Liverpool Bay, 6.5km from the Wirral Coast - £10m
-Rhyl Flats, North Wales - £10m
-Lynn, 5km offshore from Skegness, Lincolnshire - £10m
-Gunfleet Sands, 7km off Clacton-on-Sea, Essex - £9m
-Cromer, 7km north of Cromer - £10m
-Inner Dowsing, 7km north of Cromer - £10m
Today's announcement comes as a new survey is published highlighting
unprecedented levels of public support for renewable energy. 90% of
the British public think it is a 'good idea', with two thirds
favouring renewable energy sources over fossil fuels.
Mr Timms said:
'We have placed the environment at the heart of energy policy. We all
understand better now our impact on the natural environment. Climate
change, and its effects, have become real to us all, and reducing its
impact is a responsibility shared by everyone.
'We are now on a path to achieve the fastest growth rate of any
country in Europe in our renewable energy sector over this decade. 25
years ago, few would have imagined that by 2010, we would be looking
at UK wind ge nerating capacity being able to power 1 in 6
The minister addressed the conference on the second day of his
week-long tour of renewable projects around the UK. On Monday he
visited the UK's first major offshore wind farm - North Hoyle, near
Rhyl, operated by National Wind Power - due to start pumping power on
to the grid before Christmas. Later today he is due to visit Ocean
Power Delivery, Methil, Fife to see construction of a ground-breaking
wave power generator.
Today's news was welcomed by the renewables industry. Marcus Rand,
chief executive of the BWEA, said:
'Today's announcements emphasise yet again the commitment of the
government and the British public to build a new industry for Britain
that will provide cheap, clean electricity for millions of homes
across the country and thousands of new jobs in the green industrial
1.Attitudes and Knowledge of Renewable Energy amongst the General
Public was prepared for the Central Office of Information on behalf
of the DTI; Scottish Executive; National Assembly for Wales;
Department of Enterprise, Trade andInvestment (Northern Ireland).
2.The six projects awarded funding will have a combined capacity of
531MW, enough to power 350,000 homes. Each wind farm will consist of
30 turbines. Construction is expected to begin in 2004/5. All the
capital grants announced today are subject to final State Aids
clearance by the European Commission.
3. The six operators are: Burbo - SeaScape Energy Ltd; Rhyl Flats -
NWP Offshore Ltd; Lynn - AMEC Offshore Wind Power Ltd; Inner Dowsing
- Offshore Wind Power; Cromer - Norfolk Offshore Wind; Gunfleet Sands
- GE Gunfleet Ltd.
5.For information about North Hoyle offshore wind farm, visit
6.For information about Ocean Power Delivery and the Pelamis
project, visit www.oceanpd.com
7.The government's white paper on energy was published in February
and sets a strategic framework for energy policy over the next 50
years, including a commitment to produce 10% of energy from renewable
sources by the year 2010. For more information, visit