The largest zone, Dogger Bank, has been awarded to the Forewind Consortium, which is made up of SSE Renewables, RWE Npower Renewables, Statoil and Statkraft. This zone has the potential to generate 9GW of electricity. The second largest zone, the 7.2GW Norfolk Bank zone, has been awarded to East Anglia Offshore Wind Ltd, which is equally owned by Scottish Power Renewables and Vattenfall Vindkraft.

The Irish Sea zone, with the potential to generate 4.2GW, has been awarded to Centrica Renewable Energy and involving RES Group. The 4GW Hornsea zone has been awarded to Siemens Project Ventures and Mainstream Renewable Power, a consortium equally owned by Mainstream Renewable Power and Siemens Project Ventures and involving Hochtief Construction.

Other zones include: the 1.3GW Moray Firth zone, which has been awarded to Moray Offshore Renewables Ltd, which is 75% owned by EDP Renovaveis and 25% owned by SeaEnergy Renewables; the 3.5GW Firth of Forth Zone, which has been awarded to SeaGreen Wind Energy Ltd, which is equally owned by SSE Renewables and Fluor; the 1.5GW Bristol Channel zone, which has gone to RWE Npower Renewables; the 0.9GW West of Isle of Wight zone, which has been awarded to Eneco New Energy; and the 0.6GW Hastings zone, awarded to Eon Climate and Renewables UK

Cranes are used extensively in the installation of offshore wind farms, both at sea and during preparation at the dockside.

The Crown Estate is responsible for renewable energy in UK waters, and all the successful bidders have signed a zone development agreement with the Crown Estate to take the proposals through the planning and consenting stage.

“Our island has one of the best wind energy resources in Europe and today’s news shows we’re creating the right conditions for the energy industry to invest in harnessing it,” said secretary of state for energy and climate change, Ed Miliband. “This is one of the strongest signals yet that the UK is locked irreversibly into a low carbon, energy secure prosperous future.”

UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown said: “Our policies in support of offshore wind energy have already put us ahead of every other country in the world. This new round of licences provides a substantial new platform for investing in UK industrial capacity.

“The offshore wind industry is at the heart of the UK economy’s shift to low carbon and could be worth GBP75bn and support up to 70,000 jobs by 2020. This announcement will make a significant and practical contribution to reducing our CO2 emissions and the government will work with developers and the Crown Estate to support the growing offshore wind industry and help remove barriers to rapid development.”