Proposal could see all UK homes powered by wind energy within 13 years

Offshore wind farms could provide enough energy to power all UK homes by 2020, the government will announce today.

Energy secretary John Hutton will unveil proposals for a “third round” of wind energy development that could see electricity generated for up to 25m homes.

The minister will launch a study of UK waters to assess potential for large-scale development on the continental shelf at a meeting of the European energy industry in Berlin

Hutton is expected to say: “By 2020 enough electricity could be generated off our shores to power the equivalent of all the UK’s homes.

“The UK has some of the best offshore wind resource in the world, a long history of design, installation and operational expertise in the offshore environment and the skills and manufacturing capability to transfer to this exciting new sector.”

“The challenge for Government and for industry is to turn this potential - for our energy and economy - into a cost-effective reality. This will be a major challenge.

The Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (DBERR) said plans could open up the country’s seas to 33GW of offshore wind energy, a significant jump from the 8GW already planned by 2014.

Hutton will also announce his intention to chair a panel of renewable energy experts who will advise him on meeting the EU goal of 20% renewable energy by 2020.

The target was agreed at the Spring European Council and the Commission is due to propose how it will be divided between Member States in January.