Airport operator BAA is looking for a developer to build a £200m offshore wind farm, that would provide it with enough electricity to power Stansted. The deal could be signed next year and the farm in operation by 2005.

Shaun McCarthy, head of group utilities at BAA, said: "We're looking to stimulate development of a new type of technology, and tie in with a developer of renewable resources, probably next year."

BAA said it was the first client to put forward plans to obtain this amount of energy from renewable sources. It is planning to source 10% of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2010, in line with government guidelines.

To hit that figure, BAA calculates that it needs the output of a farm of wind turbines, each 100 m high with an 80 m bladespan, generating 2 MW. The farm is likely to be set up in the North Sea. BAA aims to sign a 10-to-15-year deal to buy electricity from the farm.

The firm issued a European Union Official Journal tender in July and is now in talks with a number of potential partners. BAA took the decision to look at bids from European firms, after research showed that the UK renewable energy market was not developed enough to meet its requirements. "Clients and the generating industry aren't doing enough, or thinking long term enough," said McCarthy.

Wind power is the only renewable technology advanced enough to meet BAA's needs. McCarthy said: "We've done our homework. You could paper Heathrow with solar panels and you wouldn't get 10%. People who are developing renewables tell us the future is wind."