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Energy minister promises to ‘remove barriers’ to offshore wind deployment

© PAEnergy minister offshore wind
Greg Hands Thursday June 21, 2018. Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

The UK energy minister has told the industry that government will do its bit to help accelerate the deployment of offshore wind.

During the second and final day of the Global Offshore Wind 2022 conference, Greg Hands said measures will be taken to reduce delays in the consenting process and build up a strong supply chain.

With offshore wind having overcome the cost reduction challenge, the onus is now on developers to speed up the rollout of projects.

It currently takes the best part of a decade for turbines to start generating green energy, something that industry is working to address.

Mr Hands said: “We’re all working together to remove barriers which restrict growth in the sector. To deliver a significant expansion, my department is making it easier for offshore wind projects to get off the ground, to address some of the delays and stoppages in the system. Already we’re reducing the time it takes for offshore wind projects to get planning and regulatory consents and to secure grid connections. To further support the industry we’re looking to reduce construction times by delivering a robust UK supply chain.

“The production of secure clean and domestically generated power has never been more important than it is today. Switching to cleaner sources of energy is our best route to overcome the volatile prices of imported hydrocarbons affected by Russian aggression in Ukraine. Offshore wind has a key part to play in our plan. By working together with RenewableUK and industry partners, we will ensure that we continue to be the standard bearers for the industry, shaping a path for the world to follow.”

© Supplied by RenewableUK
Global Offshore Wind 2022 kicked off in Manchester on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, the COP26 president Alok Sharma echoed Mr Hands’ comments, and told delegates in a video message that the pace of the energy transition must increase.

He said:  “Putin’s brutal and illegal invasion of Ukraine has demonstrated to countries the dangers of relying on fossil fuels controlled by a hostile actor – and countries now understand the benefits of low-cost home-grown renewables, the price of which cannot be manipulated from afar.

“Climate and environmental security are now synonymous with energy and national security. Offshore wind is integral to this transition. The potential of wind is extraordinary. We can and we must continue to accelerate this transformation to the low carbon energy system of the future.”

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