The UK awards licences for £100-billion wind farms project

The UK today awarded licences to 16 leading European companies to develop 32 gigawatts of offshore wind energy at an estimated cost of £100-billion, which would be among the largest alternative power projects in the world.

The new wind farms, under the UK's Round 3 offshore wind energy generation, will be on a far bigger scale than anything so far in the country and aims to deliver a quarter of the UK's total electricity needs by 2020.

Significantly, the new projects will be located further offshore than previous wind farms. 

The expansion of electricity generation from offshore wind represents a massive long-term investment, which the backers of the project say has the potential to generate several thousand jobs in the UK  and secure its a marine renewable electricity source.

Among the 16 companies involved in the development of the projects are RWE Npower Renewables, Statoil, Statkraft, Siemens Project Ventures, Scottish Power Renewables, Vattenfall Vindkraft, Centrica Renewable Energy RES Group and Iberdrola SA.

All the developeras have signed exclusive zone development agreements with The Crown Estate, which is responsibile for renewable energy in the UK waters.