(Alliance News) - The UK has taken another step towards decarbonising its energy grid as four companies signed deals to build six new wind farms in British waters.
The deals between the Crown Estate and companies - including BP PLC, TotalEnergies SE and Germany's RWE AG - will lead to enough wind turbines to power around seven million homes when the wind blows.
The Crown Estate was given the thumbs-up to sign the agreements by then business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng in July last year.
The leases have now been signed for the six wind farms, which have a generation capacity of eight gigawatts.
Three of the projects are off the coast of North Wales, Cumbria and Lancashire and the other three are in the North Sea, off Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.
Together they will pay around GBP1 billion to the Crown Estate every year, money which can then be passed on to the Treasury.
The Crown Estate has to date awarded offshore wind rights which will see 41 GW of capacity installed in British waters. So far, 12 GW of that is operational.
It needs to approve more projects to reach the government's target of having 50 GW of offshore wind by the start of the next decade.
Energy & Climate Minister Graham Stuart said: "Offshore wind is at the heart of our goal to secure clean, affordable and resilient energy supply for all in the UK, while bringing major business, investment and job opportunities along with it."
Dan McGrail, chief executive of trade body RenewableUK, said: "This announcement represents a major step forward not just for these major offshore wind projects but also for the industry as a whole, as these lease agreements will strengthen our energy security, create jobs and support development of new UK supply chains.
"It demonstrates the continuing ability of the UK to attract billions of pounds in private investment due to the maturity of our world-class offshore wind market, which is enabling the redevelopment and regeneration of all areas of the UK, especially in coastal communities which need levelling up.
"Offshore wind is playing the leading role in the UK's transition to clean power, becoming the backbone of our future energy system, and helping us to reach net-zero as fast as possible."