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The BBC's Fergus Walsh
"The offshore wind farms would produce 1% of the UK's electricity"
 real 56k

Energy minister Peter Hain
"This will give us added balance to our energy supply and move us forward"
 real 28k

Sir Eric Ash, Royal Society
"The Royal Society very much welcomes the initiative"
 real 28k

Thursday, 5 April, 2001, 10:18 GMT 11:18 UK
UK to get 18 wind farms
Wind generators
Wind power will be a feature of the UK coastline
The UK is to get 18 new offshore wind farms as part of a government plan to increase production of renewable energy.

The move, which could create hundreds of jobs, was unveiled by the Crown Estate - the agency which owns the seabed around the UK.

Earlier this month Prime Minister Tony Blair announced that 100m was being earmarked for wind, wave and solar power.


We have to change the way we live - that's why energy efficiency is increasingly part of our agenda

Peter Hain
The government wants to ensure that 10% of the UK's electricity comes from renewable sources by 2010 as part of its obligations under the Kyoto agreement.

The farms will be erected at locations around the Welsh and English coast, a Crown Estate spokeswoman said.

Energy Minister Peter Hain hailed the move saying the 18 wind farms would power around 1m households and that was "a very significant contribution to power supply".

Offshore windpower
Windpower off the UK coast - photo courtesy of the British Wind Energy Association
On the Kyoto agreement he said the 10% target was an "important first step".

"In addition we have to change the way we live - that's why energy efficiency is increasingly part of our agenda," he told the BBC.

But one of the UK's leading scientific organisations says windpower is not the only way of meeting international obligations.

Need for nuclear?

Sir Eric Ash, chairman of the Royal Society, called for some new nuclear power plants to be built, saying that otherwise he could not see any way in which the government would meet "even the minimal Kyoto targets".

But Mr Hain, who is a former CND campaigner, said he had not seen any applications for new nuclear plants.

Site of new wind farms
Redcar
Skegness
Cromer
Clacton-on-Sea
Sheerness
Porthcawl
Blackpool
Southport
Liverpool
Rhyl
Whitehaven
"Nuclear had its heyday in the 1950s, '60s and '70s but across the world in Europe and even in the USA people have looked for alternative sources (of power)," he said.

Friends of the Earth said the announcement of the wind farms was a tremendous boost for jobs in the energy and engineering sectors.

"There is huge potential for offshore energy in this country and this announcement signals the dawn of a new era," said a spokesman.

Greenpeace said at least 8,000 new jobs could be created by the new wind farms with the potential for a further 28,000 jobs if turbines were built in Britain.

"After 30 years of opposing industrial abuse of our seas, Greenpeace can at last welcome a move to exploit the fantastic renewable energy resources off our coastline," a spokesman said.

"Let's hope this signals a new commitment to developing Britain's renewable energy industry."


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See also:

08 Feb 01 | Scotland
Green energy plea rejected
05 Oct 00 | Conservatives
Tories back renewable energy
06 Mar 01 | UK Politics
Blair pitches for green vote
16 Nov 00 | Scotland
Making waves to generate cash
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