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Offshore wind on brink of boom, says energy minister

Michael Fallon visits the Total Elgin platform
Michael Fallon visits the Total Elgin platform

The offshore wind sector is on the brink of a boom similar to that seen in the North Sea oil industry in the 1970s, according to Britain’s energy minister.

Michael Fallon has predicted a surge of activity off the east coast thanks to new investment aided by a raft of policy detail being given to investors.

Mr Fallon , who went offshore to visit Total’s Elgin platform yesterday, said he had intervened to reassure would-be offshore wind developers about the future of electricity market reform.

The minister added he and his Westminster colleagues had been providing step-by-step certainty for the sector, allowing the firms seeking to construct wind arrays to begin doing their sums on likely returns.

He was speaking after Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Environment and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey launched the UK’s new offshore wind strategy, which seeks to guarantee local benefits and jobs on the back of major wind projects out at sea.

Under the new rules, projects will be forced to register their plans for local supply-chain input before they can gain access to subsidies through a guaranteed price under the contract for difference mechanism.

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