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New plans for offshore windfarms

PUBLISHED: 18:05 29 September 2008 | UPDATED: 11:54 03 July 2010

TOWERING offshore wind turbines could dominate more of the Norfolk and Suffolk coastline after the government announced plans last night to quadruple the amount of power generated by the machines.

TOWERING offshore wind turbines could dominate more of the Norfolk and Suffolk coastline after the government announced plans last night to quadruple the amount of power generated by the machines.

The Crown Estate is inviting companies to bid for the right to set up offshore wind turbines in nine designated development zones around the British coast by 2020.

One of the zones covers an offshore stretch from north Norfolk to north Suffolk.

The announcement means that a new wind farm could be built on the continental shelf off the counties' shoreline in a government supported renewable energy zone.

The new turbines around the British coast should quadruple the present output of wind turbines from 8GW to 33GW of energy.

And the new wind turbines could boost the region's highly successful wind turbine industry by creating jobs and increasing investment.

It is hoped that the launch of the tendering process will ensure that in 12 years' time a fifth of all power created in the Britain will come from renewable sources.

The new turbines will be the third stage of the expansion of wind power generation.

Plans for the latest offshore expansion to meet EU green energy targets follows the creation of the Scroby Sands wind farm off Yarmouth.

Scroby Sands, which is in its third year of operation, provides power for 39,000 homes and was built by Eon as the first tranche of the government's offshore wind farm programme.

Although the phase three tendering invites were only officially sent out yesterday, 96 British and international companies have already expressed an interest in developing wind farms at the nine sites.

Without any private investment the government would not be able to fund the expansion of eco-friendly technology.

Rob Hastings, Crown Estate's director of marine estates, said: “Attracting such investment is the only way in which government targets can be met. The investment will be very significant and presents opportunities for British and local companies in the supply chain, ports and other infrastructure. Early movers could reap the benefits.”

The nine zones will be finalised following a strategic environmental assessment of each one and successful bidders in the tendering process will have exclusive rights to develop wind farms in partnership with the government.

Business secretary John Hutton said: “The launch of the bidding competition is a huge opportunity for investors and developers to play a part in the renewable revolution sweeping the country.

“Offshore wind farms could dramatically increase the amount of energy generated in this country from green clean sources.”

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