U.K.’s Davey Sees ‘Major’ Offshore Wind Investments Soon

The U.K. will soon see “major investments” in offshore wind projects, Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey said, signaling the country’s push to expand low-carbon power isn’t derailing.

Interest from developers in signing contracts has exceeded expectations, Davey told lawmakers in parliament today. “There will be some good news to announce on offshore wind shortly.”

Davey has sought to allay concerns that renewable-power developers are turning away from the U.K. after RWE AG scrapped a 4.5 billion-pound ($7.4 billion) offshore project and Centrica Plc said it’s still deciding whether to push ahead with another. Prime Minister David Cameron has said he wants to “roll back” green levies on customer bills that help subsidize clean energy.

Offshore wind developers have been offered interim contracts, a temporary measure to encourage investment while the government puts the finishing touches to energy legislation that it intends to pass by year-end. The new law will bring in contracts-for-difference, which guarantee a price for wind-power producers 15 years into the future.

The contracts-for-difference won’t be affected by Cameron’s review into green levies, nor will the Renewables Obligation program or feed-in tariffs for clean-energy plants, Davey said.

RWE’s renewable-energy division said Nov. 26 that it had axed a planned wind farm in deep seas off southwest England because engineering hurdles made it too costly.

Davey said he could understand the decision, based on the increased costs arising from the technical challenges of the site. The news followed reports that Centrica may scrap a 2 billion-pound offshore wind venture unless aid is stepped up.

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