Page last updated at 13:10 GMT, Tuesday, 11 May 2010 14:10 UK

Wind farms across England to expand says Crown Estate

The turbines of the Burbo Bank offshore wind farm
The Burbo Bank wind farm in Liverpool Bay is among those set to expand

Expansions to offshore wind farm sites around the coast of England have been given the go ahead by the Crown Estate.

Wind farm developments off the coasts of Suffolk, Kent, Cumbria and another in Liverpool Bay have all been given the green light to expand their area.

It is thought the expansions will provide enough power for an extra 1.4 million homes.

All the extensions will be subject to full, new planning applications, the Crown Estate has said.

Environmental impact assessments and consultation will also be carried out before construction can begin at any of the sites.

The planned expansions at the five developments will collectively create about 1.7 gigawatts (GW) of extra power.

Two projects off the coast of Norfolk have also been given approval to install extra capacity to harness more wind energy within their designated offshore area.

'Positive step'

In total the extensions permitted by the Crown Estate will provide an additional 2GW of power to the grid.

Rob Hastings, the Crown Estate's director of the marine estate, said the announcement of the extra 2GW of power had been driven by developers' appetite for offshore wind.

"It is another positive step in the maturing of the offshore wind industry and will significantly support the growth of the supply chain as its adds further to the pipeline of construction projects," he said.

Maria McCaffery, chief executive of industry body RenewableUK, said the announcement gave "definitive and positive" evidence of the environmental and commercial viability of existing offshore projects.

She said: "The site extensions come as a direct consequence of the UK's world-beating offshore wind farms showing that, after a successful start, they have further potential for growth."

SSE Renewables and RWE Npower Renewables have been given permission to expand their Greater Gabbard project off the coast of Suffolk.

Vattenfall Wind Power has been given approval to extend its Kentish Flats and Thanet projects off the coast of Kent, and Dong Wind UK is set to expand Burbo Bank, near Liverpool, and Walney, Cumbria.

Centrica Renewable Energy has also been permitted to install extra capacity on Race Bank, while Warwick Energy can add to its Dudgeon site capacity - both off the Norfolk coast.

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