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Offshore windfarms could power UK households

by David Masters
February 2, 2009

A government report recommends that up to 7,000 wind turbines be built around the UK coastline.

According to the report, which details the results of a DECC commissioned study, offshore wind energy has the potential to power nearly every home in the UK.

Energy and climate change secretary Ed Miliband said: “In terms of electricity, offshore wind power could potentially make the single biggest contribution to our 2020 renewable energy target so it’s vital we maximise the UK’s natural resources to help in the fight against climate change.”

In working out suitable sites for windfarms, the study considered the effect on marine birds and mammals, and on sea based industries such as fishing and shipping.

Miliband said the government wants to “ensure that projects like wind farms are built in the most suitable places and that we will also protect the natural environment.”

The British Wind Energy Association welcomed the report and said that the benefits of using renewable energy will outweigh the windfarms’ environmental impact.

BWEA chief executive Maria McCaffery said the report confirms “what the BWEA has been saying since UK’s renewable energy targets were published in January 2008 – there is enough potential for wind, wave and tidal to supply every UK household with electricity – and then some.”

She added: “We now know that any potential environmental impacts of offshore renewables will be greatly outweighed by the benefits of harnessing sustainable forms of energy.”

The Crown Estate, landlord of the seabed, said it will bear in mind the findings of the report when considering applications for windfarm leases.

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