Liberal Democrat MEP Sir Graham Watson
has welcomed the news that £2 million worth of contracts to build and maintain the proposed Atlantic Array offshore wind farm
in the Severn Estuary have been awarded to Devon businesses. A further £1.98 million has been awarded to South West firms.
Sir Graham also noted the changes to the proposed scheme by RWE Power
following concerns by environmental campaigners and residents. These include a reduction in turbines and the array will cover an area of 200 km2, down from the original 238 km2.
The scheme, when completed, will produce enough green energy to power the number of dwellings in Devon almost three times over.
In a statement, Sir Graham said
: “The success of major energy projects is often measured by the impact on the ground. And I am pleased that the local community has been able to take advantage of this major business opportunity. It is now clear that with the news of these contracts being awarded, Devon will benefit enormously from millions of pounds worth of economic activity, safeguarding jobs and stimulating growth.
"We have a unique opportunity in the Westcountry to benefit from our environment, forging a stronger economy through low carbon schemes which create green jobs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
"I welcome RWE's efforts to minimise the impact of the wind farm on the local environment, from both a visual and ecological perspective. It is important that communities are listened to. With our reliance on Russian gas growing by the day and with the major challenges of waste and decommissioning that come with nuclear, we must continue to invest in renewable energy projects such as these that harness the power of nature.
With a planned 1.5 gigawatt capacity, it would be one of the world's largest offshore wind farms. In January 2012, the South West was named as the UK’s first Marine Energy Park
, firmly placing the region on the international map for leadership in marine renewable energy. The South West Marine Energy Park will stretch from Bristol all the way along down to Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
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