wind turbines

Eight major renewable energy projects, which include offshore wind farms and conversions of coal-powered plants to run on biomass, have been given government approval.

The contracts are the first awarded under the government’s energy market reforms and are expected to support 8,500 jobs.

This is more good news for contractors and comes just months after manufacturing company Siemen’s and the UK’s Associated British Ports announced their £310m investment in UK wind turbine factories. 

Energy secretary Ed Davey said the projects would help power up to three million homes and would attract around £12bn in private investment.

The eight projects will all receive one of the government’s Contracts for Difference (CfDs), which effectively guarantee prices for renewable energy suppliers.

These could cost up to £1bn each year in subsidies, but the government says they would encourage firms to invest much more than that in low-carbon electricity generation.

It is hoped that by 2020 30% of electricity will come through renewable means.

The approved schemes include offshore wind farms in Liverpool bay, and off the Moray, Norfolk and Yorkshire coasts.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) said it expected the investment contracts for the successful projects would gain parliamentary approval in May 2014, when they would then take legal effect.

Photo by Dave Buchanan