Global offshore wind industry in full sail

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Beligan project to go ahead in North Sea, while Texas could win race to host first offshore wind farm in the US

The global offshore wind energy industry received a boost yesterday with news Belgian firm Belwind has completed financing the first phase of a 330MW offshore wind farm to be constructed in the North Sea.

The company confirmed it has secured a €300m (£260m) loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB) that will allow it to begin work on 55 3MW turbines to be erected 46km off the coast of Belgium.

The first phase of the project, which will result in Belgium’s largest offshore wind farm, is expected to be completed by 2011 and will contribute towards the government’s target of delivering six per cent share of electricity from renewable energy sources.

Meanwhile, it looks as if Texas could beat a raft of east coast states in the race to become home to the first offshore wind farm in the US.

The Texas General Land Office has awarded leases to energy startup Baryonyx to build three new wind farms, two of which are offshore. The company said that combined, the three sites – two in the Gulf of Mexico and one on land in the Texas panhandle – could become home to a fleet of giant 5MW turbines capable of generating up to 3GW of power.

Baryonyx chief executive Ian Hatton said that the aim was to use the energy generated by the proposed developments to power datacentres in the region, adding that server farms now account for 1.5 per cent of global energy consumption and provide an attractive target market for renewable energy developers.

“The grant of these leases are an important milestone for… demonstrating a way forward to reduced reliance on imported energy and simultaneously increasing the environmental sustainability of technology that has become core to the modern economy,” he said.

The company will now begin environmental and engineering evaluation of the sites with a view to filing planning applications for the projects.

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