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World's First Wind and Gas Offshore Energy Project Given Green Light

A unique dual energy scheme to be sited off the Cumbrian coast was given the go-ahead today by Energy Minister Lord Truscott.

The Ormonde project from Eclipse Energy will be sited 10KM from Walney Island near Barrow in Furness.

This innovative hybrid development has the potential to generate up to 200MW of electricity with almost half coming from the wind farm comprising up to 30 turbines. This is enough clean energy for around 70,000 homes.

When the wind isn't sufficient, power will still come via conventional gas sources pumped from two fields in nearby Morecambe Bay for which DTI approval has also been sought.

Energy Minister Lord Truscott said:

"We are now starting to see a real flow of approvals for energy projects in UK waters. The London Array and Thanet schemes in the Thames Estuary went through in December and the good progress continues in 2007.

"The Ormonde scheme is unusual in that it will combine wind and gas power to produce continuous electricity for the region. It is an exciting and innovative technological first that will make a contribution to our renewable energy aims."

Minister for the Marine Environment, Ben Bradshaw, said:

"This development reinforces the Government's commitment to renewable energy and combating climate change. All of the environmental issues and possible impacts on others users of the sea have been addressed in the planning and consent process."

Commenting on the licence award, Ian Hatton, Managing Director of Eclipse said,

"Eclipse is delighted to have gained consent for the world's 1st hybrid energy generation facility.

"We have combined both North Sea oil and gas experience and business models to provide a commercial catalyst to enable us to harness the energy from offshore natural gas fields and wind power, this is a global first.

"Over the next few years the UK's natural gas reserves will become depleted and we will become increasingly dependent upon imported energy. It is therefore vital that we explore the opportunities for producing energy from renewable sources and that we maximise recovery of the nation's indigenous energy.

"We believe that wind power can play a key role by producing electricity from a clean, free, abundant and inexhaustible resource. We expect Ormonde to be the first of a series of similar projects where offshore wind energy is developed using the hybrid concept."

Rob Hastings, Director of the Marine Estate at The Crown Estate said,

"The Crown Estate is delighted to have been able to work closely with the developer and the DTI to enable this important demonstration of transitional technology. The combination of hydrocarbon and renewable energy is part of the future of energy production."

The Ormonde project is scheduled for completion in 2010.

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