The findings, a result of the Government’s Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) will enable the Crown Estate to proceed with the third round of leasing in UK’s waters for offshore wind farms.

Offshore wind has the potential to provide the UK with up to 70,000 new jobs and £8bn in annual revenues.

The new licensing regime for the cables to connect offshore wind farms to the mainland also starts today. The competitive tender process, run by Ofgem, has the potential to save generators £1bn by getting the best deal. It will also attract new entrants with transmission expertise and, offer longer term stable investment opportunity.

The Crown Estate launched Round 3 of offshore wind in June 2008. This decision means they can proceed with negotiations and award development rights to the market. Any proposals for developments will be assessed by the relevant authorities to ensure they are located in appropriate places.

The Government is also publishing today A Prevailing Wind: Advancing UK Offshore Wind Deployment. The document sets out work that will enable the necessary expansion of the industry.

Lord Hunt was speaking at the BWEA Offshore Wind Conference.