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Funding vital to meet targets, wind lobby tells government

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OFFSHORE WIND energy supporters are urging the government to subsidise development of the second wave of offshore sites or risk missing renewable generation targets.

'Our renewable energy targets depend on round two sites delivering, ' British Wind Energy Association's head of offshore energy, Gordon Edge told NCE.

'But there is nothing available for round two development, despite the increasing price of steel and the growing US wind market taking up resources.' In 2001 the government opened up 18 sites for offshore development of 30 turbine windfarms. Government grants of £10M per farm were made available.

A further 15 sites were opened in December 2003.

These would sit further offshore with a much larger number of turbines permitted.

But no grants are being made for these sites, which will be much more expensive to build.

The Department for Trade & Industry said internal discussions continued over whether additional funding will be available for the new sites.

Developing the first wave of sites has taken much longer than expected. Only two are operational with a further two under construction at Barrow and Kentish Flats.

'The risks and contingencies were higher than expected on the first few sites to be built, ' said Edge. 'It is a new industry and developers are passing risk to turbine manufacturers and contractors.

'But taking on the risk of bad weather has been more expensive than expected and the industry is seeking a more equitable arrangement for risk sharing, ' he said.

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