In the wake of the UK government’s Energy White Paper comes an announcement, which brings one of the key future energy scenarios closer to reality.London, England – March 3, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] The Crown Estate, principal landlords of UK territorial waters, has asked for expressions of interest in the development of new offshore wind sites, according to the British Wind Energy Association (BWEA). Prospective developers have been asked to register their interest with the Crown Estate by March 20, less than 6 weeks after the deadline for responses to the Government’s ‘Future Offshore’ consultation. The initial findings of this pre-registration process are believed to be unveiled at UK Offshore Wind 2003; the industry’s specialist conference, to be held in London on March 26-27th. “The rapid progress in securing the next round of offshore wind confirms that the technology is set to be a big part of the energy landscape for decades to come,” said Nick Goodall, BWEA Chief Executive. BWEA anticipates that this release of further seabed sites could see between 3,000 – 4,000 MW of new offshore wind farms generating electricity by 2010. Sites released under ‘Round One’ in April 2001 are expected to contribute in the region of 1350+MW to the UK electricity mix by 2006; the first three large-scale offshore wind farms have secured the necessary consents and construction has already begun on some of the associated landward elements. According to a new study by BWEA Vice-Chairman David Milborrow, development costs of offshore wind farms are already falling. This is inline with the initial report by the Performance and Innovation Unit, which informed the Government’s White Paper. The observed downward trend in production costs suggests that wind generation at sea is well on course to be fully competitive with gas at today’s prices, if not by 2010, then certainly by 2020.