The two announcements are the study on locations for future offshore energy developments, which identified scope for between 5,000 and 7,000 more offshore wind turbines, and the study on the Severn Barrage, which shortlisted 5 projects with the potential to supply up to 5% of UK’s electricity consumption.
The conclusion of the UK Offshore Energy Strategic Environmental Assessment states that ‘there are no overriding environmental considerations to prevent the achievement of the offshore…wind elements of the programme.’
Maria McCaffery, BWEA Chief Executive, said: “The two studies published today confirm 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.”
The Department of Energy and Climate Change minister Ed Miliband said in his statement that ‘in terms of electricity, offshore wind power could potentially make the single biggest contribution to our 2020 renewable energy target,’ while also announcing £500,000 in funding ‘to further develop embryonic technologies like tidal reefs and fences’ in the Severn Barrage.
“There should be a clear sense of urgency regarding the offshore renewables roll out programme. 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 industry received a powerful signal today that we are on the right track. The Government now has to act decisively to remove other obstacles hampering the growth of the wind, wave and tidal sectors,” said McCaffery.