The cost of decommissioning the UK's fleet of offshore wind farms and wave and tidal devices built by 2020 could total around £400-585 million, says the government in a consultation on changes to provisions for decommissioning structures built at sea by offshore energy industries. The cost of decommissioning wind farms alone from the first and second round of offshore development would be £360 million. In its consultation, the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (DBERR) is seeking to strengthen and safeguard the funds put aside by operators for decommissioning renewable generating projects and oil and gas platforms. The aim is to reduce the risk that operators default on their obligations, leaving the taxpayer to pick up the bill. The government proposes new legislation to protect decommissioning funds in the event of insolvency of the operator. At the moment under the Insolvency Act, such funds would be distributed among the operator's creditors in the event of bankruptcy. It also proposes to widen the category of persons who would be liable for a decommissioning obligation to include parent or associate companies of offshore renewables operators. The consultation closes September 13.
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