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The Renewable Energy Centre Comments On Decc Plans For Offshore Wind Farms

Press Release
30 Jul 2009

On 27th July 2009 the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) announced the collaboration between 3 major UK-based banks and the European Investment Bank (EIB) in an effort to support British onshore wind farm projects.

The banks involved have been cited as Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), Lloyds and the French-owned BNP Paribas Fortis. Together they will lend £1 billion to British onshore wind farms, alongside the proposed £4 billion also provided by the EIB to UK energy projects within the next year. Also, within the £120 million DECC funding dedicated to offshore wind technology, there will be a £10 million grant available to companies applying.

Since the Spring Budget meeting with the DECC, The Government has received pressure to demonstrate ways to advance Britain’s green industrial revolution. Several environmentalists, including the Director of Greenpeace, have highlighted the Government’s tendency to block onshore wind schemes. Between 2005 and 2008 Conservative councils blocked approximately three times as many projects as they passed, with Labour performing marginally better. In the DECC press release Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband explained, “The resources we are announcing back up our plans with clear actions to ensure we deliver.” According to Milliband, the new EIB funding could power more than half a million homes.

Despite its potential, the DECC’s announcement has been received with scepticism. RBS and BNP Paribas Fortis claimed that no documents have been signed to confirm their commitment to the programme, whilst Lloyds refused to comment. Concerns were highlighted in the media today that RBS could post-pone the agreement until the end of 2009, or even withdraw entirely.

Vestas, the UK’s major wind turbine manufacturer, is threatening to close their Isle of Wight plant due to lack of domestic business yet their research and development facilities will remain in the UK. Critics have been speculating that Government concern for this dent to the British wind turbine industry has instigated the financial action. The DECC announced that an award of more than £6 billion will be granted to Vestas Technology UK Ltd’s research and development department, implying that the rescue of Vestas could be the Government’s incentive for yesterday’s announcement.

Increased funding for companies like Vestas is essential for securing a greener future for Britain, yet some believe the banks’ priorities lie in rescuing their own commercial borrowing levels; something that has plummeted in the recent financial climate.

Richard Simmons, Managing Director of The Renewable Energy Centre expressed concern that UK wind energy projects still receive insufficient financial support. In response to DECC’s announcement he stated: “Hopefully this funding will speed up the processes which are currently crippling the development of UK wind farms. The Renewable Energy Centre would like to see even more funding dedicated to this area. From a UK energy security perspective, wind farms will be essential to the provision of uninterrupted power supply to UK homes within the next 5-10 years.”

Ed Milliband promised, "Alongside these proposals, we are reforming planning laws, finding new ways of working with local communities and are determined to persuade people that we need a significant increase in onshore wind as part of the UK's future energy mix."

The Renewable Energy Centre said that continual pressure on Government funding had to be applied in order to ensure that Ed Milliband and DECC would be able to deliver his promises of a Greener Britain.

Ends
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Notes for Editors:

www.therenewableenergycentre.co.uk

The Renewable Energy Centre is committed to informing all online users about energy saving and renewable energy in order to:

  • increase public awareness through accurate and informative resources
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For more information contact:

Angela Gallacher (Head of Press and Marketing)
Email:
Telephone: +44 (0)1926 865 835
Address: 1 Alpha House, Farmer Ward Road, Kenilworth, Warwickshire, CV8 2ED

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