27/07/2009

Extra £1bn Pledged For Wind Farm Programme

Three UK-based banks start work today with the European Investment Bank (EIB) on a programme to lend up to £1 billion to onshore wind farms over the next three years.

The cash, part of the additional £4 billion of EIB lending to support UK energy projects announced in the Budget, will help get building started for onshore wind projects which have been hit by the credit crunch, particularly small and mid-sized wind farms.

The banks - RBS, Lloyds and BNP Paribas Fortis - have been teamed up with the EIB by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and HM Treasury, following the announcement in April's Budget Statement that the Government wanted to get more EIB lending to UK renewables.

Firms can also apply for DECC cash from today to develop offshore wind technology. There will be up to £10 million in grants, part of the £120 million announced in the renewable energy strategy last week to support offshore wind. This is the second round of cash for development of offshore wind technology.

DECC is also confirming today that, subject to agreement on suitable grant offer conditions, it also intends to make an award under the first round of this programme for Vestas Technology UK Ltd's research and development centre on the Isle of Wight. This proposed award - more than £6 million - would include over £3m of funding from the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA).

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband said: "Earlier this month we laid out a transition plan to a low carbon economy that included a massive expansion of green wind energy. The resources we are announcing back up our plans with clear actions to ensure we deliver.

"The European Investment Bank funds will help the building start on consented wind farms that could provide 1 gigawatt of electricity, enough to power more than half a million homes.

"The money for the development of offshore wind manufacturing will help us generate green jobs on top of our success as the leading country in the world for the generation of offshore wind.

"Alongside these proposals, we are reforming planning laws, finding new ways of working with local communities and are determined to persuade people that we need a significant increase in onshore wind as part of the UK's future energy mix."

He added: "That is essential for the generation of renewable energy and for Britain to have an industrial future in the production of onshore wind."

(JM/BMcC)

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