The government has announced a programme to lend up to £1 billion to onshore wind farms over the next 3 years.

Three UK-based banks, the Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds and BNP Paribas Fortis, will work with the European Investment Bank (EIB) on the lending programme, which aims to support UK wind projects which have been hit by the credit crunch.

Firms will also be able to apply for DECC funding to develop offshore wind technology. The department says there will be up to £10m in grants, as part of the £120m announced in the renewable energy strategy last week to support offshore wind.

The banks were teamed up with the EIB by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and the Treasury, following the announcement in April’s budget statement that the government wanted to get more EIB lending to UK renewables.

Ed Miliband, energy and climate change secretary, 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 out plans with clear actions to ensure we deliver.”

Miliband said that the funding from the EIB would help push forward the building on consented wind farms, that could provide as much as 1GW of electricity. This would be enough to power 500,000 homes. The secretary also said that this would lead to the creation of further green collar jobs.