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EU nations sign up to build new offshore wind electricity grid

The UK was one of nine European nations to this week pledge to develop an offshore wind electricity grid spanning the North and Irish seas.

Energy ministers from Britain, Ireland, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium and Luxembourg promised to build a new offshore power grid to link up sea-based wind power turbines and ultimately boost the output of renewable energy.

UK energy minister Lord Hunt signed the agreement for the offshore grid yesterday with ministers from other countries at the margins of an Energy Council meeting in Brussels.

Lord Hunt said the scheme would help Europe meet its commitments to supply 20 per cent of its energy from renewables by 2020 by balancing out intermittent supply and changing demand from different areas around north west Europe.

Offshore wind farms are built using larger and more powerful turbines, which are planted in the sea bed, and can generate around a third more power than onshore farms.

He said: “This [will] bring new funding and expert direction to grow this vital new industry.

“It also means we can work with other countries in the EU to increase our renewable energy supplies.”

Following the announcement, the Government also revealed it would fund £5 million in grants for offshore wind technology research.