Hold on to Your Hats! UK Eyes the North Sea Wind
Most E&P operators are familiar with the UK Government's licensing rounds in the North Sea - but the excitement about the next wave of licensing rounds doesn't revolve around oil and gas.
It's all about offshore wind energy projects.
The first round of offshore wind farms occurred in 2001, and consisted of a number of small demonstrator projects. The second round followed in 2003, involving the awarding of leases for larger scale projects.
The UK Government is preparing for the third licensing round of wind energy development. UK Energy Secretary John Hutton in December announced proposals to harness the country's island status -- with some of the strongest winds in the North Sea -- by opening the continental shelf to up to 33 gigawatts of offshore wind energy.
"Our trajectory on renewable is beyond question," Hutton said. "They (wind turbines) are as central to our future low carbon economy as chimneys were to the industrial revolution and road building following the invention of the mass produced car."