Billions of euros need to be invested in offshore wind farms over the next few years if the European Union is to hit its target of generating 20% of energy from renewable sources by 2020, an influential industry lobby group said today

Some €57 billion (£49.9 billion) is needed to build offshore wind farms and a further €20 billion to €30 billion to build the connections to bring the electricity onshore and pass it between countries, according to the European Wind Energy Association.

Its chief executive Christian Kjaer said financiers are ready to invest in the new infrastructure but want reassurances from governments that wind farms will get the links and support they need to get power into the continental electricity grid.

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He called on the EU to create a single electricity grid to replace the current 27 national energy systems.

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