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Offshore wind farm boom expected

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CONSTRUCTION OF offshore wind farms was expected to be made easier this week in an overhaul of the renewables obligation certicates (ROCs).

The overhaul was expected in the Energy White Paper, due to be published yesterday.

Experts told NCE that a new regime for ROCs will see higher risk renewables, such as offshore wind, receive more support, while lower risk technologies, such as co- red plants, would get less subsidy.

Engineers also believe that a new fleet of nuclear power stations would help maintain a higher wholesale price for electricity making it easier for renewables to compete.

Speaking prior to publication of the White Paper, Faber Maunsell director Bob Ayres explained that some generation sources such as offshore wind would receive more certicates for the same amount of power generation than other sources such as co- firing.

'Industry is really looking to see 1.6 to 1.65 ROCs for offshore wind for it to take off.

Rumours are that it [the white paper] will give 1.5 to 1.6. It will be absolutely delightful if that's achieved.' British Wind Energy Association director of economies and markets Dr Gordon Edge explained that the government wants to try and keep the number of ROCs in the market constant. Therefore extra certi ates given to offshore will be taken from technologies like co- fired plants.

Every power company must provide a certain proportion of its energy from renewable sources. ROCs are issued as proof. A 1.6 ROC means companies get 1.6 certi cates for every megawatt of renewable power generated.

Ayres said the renewables sector should welcome new nuclear plants: 'The retail price for new nuclear is high because the capital investment is high, the decommissioning is high and the clean up is high and so the energy price will remain high.

This is good news for renewables.' Former environment minister Elliot Morley said: 'It has been clear for sometime that the Prime Minister and Alistair Darling have seen there may be a need to at least maintain the existing level of nuclear energy.

'My main concern is that the nuclear industry should make its own case.

I don't believe that it should be subsidised in any way. Alistair Darling has made it clear that there would be no subsidies and has made no sign of changing that.' But he added: 'I wouldn't want to see any undue prominence of any one option but would like to see and encouraging mix.' Former ICE energy board chairman David Anderson said: 'I'd be surprised if they could make the commercial case for nuclear without subsidies.'

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