Offshore Wind is Key to UK’s Kyoto Requirements

Fleets of wind turbines located miles off the coastline of Britain will make a crucial contribution to the nation’s energy future said Energy Minister Brian Wilson.

London England – March 31, 2003 [] Speaking at British Wind Energy Association’s Offshore Wind 2003 conference held recently in London, the Energy Minister pledged strong support for the offshore wind industry, which would provide the key to meeting the government’s environmental targets. “The latest figures will show there was a significant drop in CO2 emissions last year,” Wilson said. “Since 1990 our CO2 emissions have fallen by nine percent, and this is in spite of rising energy consumption and economic growth of over 30 percent. These figures confirm that economic growth need not be at the expense of the environment, and that we are on course to meet our Kyoto targets on combating global warming.” “However, there is no room for complacency,” Wilson said. “The White Paper has set us on the target of cutting carbon emissions by 60 percent by the year 2050. We need a much bigger contribution from Renewable Energy, and there is ample evidence that the biggest new contributor to our renewables target is going to be offshore wind.” The Minister underlined the Government’s backing for offshore developments, with the announcement of £42 million (US$66 million) in capital grants for projects around the British Isles: – £4 million (US$6 million) to National Wind Power for the Rhyl Flats project, North Wales; – £10 million (US$15.7 million) to Warwick Offshore Wind for the Barrow Offshore project, Cumbria; – £10 million (US$15.7 million) to GREP UK Marine for the Kentish Flats project, North Kent; – £18 million (US$28.3 million) to Offshore Energy Resources and Solway Offshore for the Robin Rigg project, Solway Firth. These projects are among seven sites to have been awarded planning consent from the 19 identified for offshore development by the Crown Estate. Together the projects will create more than 500 wind turbines, generating 1,500 MW of electricity – or 1.5 percent of the UK’s energy needs. The Minister used his speech as an opportunity to outline how the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) would be allocating the bulk of the £60 million (US$94.5 million) in additional funds promised for renewables in the Energy White Paper – with offshore projects receiving £40 million (US$63 million). But Wilson warned there were “major obstacles” to be addressed if the UK was to grasp the benefits. One of the most significant of these was transmission, he said, with Britain needing to be ‘re-wired’ to adapt to the age of renewables. “Infrastructure is all,” Wilson said. “There is no point in generating power unless we can ensure that it is capable of being carried to the markets which require it. The regulatory system must help our aspirations for Renewable Energy and not place obstacles in its way. I have no doubt that the private sector has the will to invest in renewables generation but they also have the right to expect that the regulatory framework will deliver the necessary investment to extend and update the grid, as a great national obligation.”


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