All UK homes could be wind powered by 2020: govt
LONDON (Reuters) - Every home in Britain could be supplied by wind power alone in 2020 by making full use of the wind-swept seas around the country, Energy Secretary John Hutton said on Monday.
Britain has some of the best wind conditions for generating carbon-free electricity in the world but high construction costs and a sluggish planning process has limited its growth.
There are 8 gigawatts of offshore wind farms planned in the UK, but the government thinks another 25 GW could be added to that by 2020, Hutton said in a statement.
"This potential major expansion will be subject to the outcome of a strategic environmental assessment. But if we could manage to achieve this, by 2020 enough electricity could be generated off our shores to power the equivalent of all of the UK's homes." he said.
"The challenge for government and for industry is to turn this potential - for our energy and economy - into a cost-effective reality. This will be a major challenge."
The government recently streamlined the planning system to help get new energy projects approved more quickly and has changed the way renewable energy is supported to favor offshore wind and wave energy over cheaper onshore wind turbines.
(Reporting by Daniel Fineren; editing by James Jukwey)