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[Academy Submission] The Vale Times

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Whittley to Fasttrack Offshore Energy Projects

Whittley - Parliament has passed an act allowing a pair of offshore energy projects to be fast-tracked. The two projects, an expansion of the White-Ridge gas field and the construction of Blackmare 2 offshore windpark project, mark a change in government policy towards increasing Whittvale's energy security and pivoting towards a greener future.

The White-Ridge gas field, Whittvale's fourth largest offshore hydrocarbon reserve, has been subject to several exploration programs over the last decade, with new found proven reserves having been presented to the Ministries of Energy and Economic Affairs several years ago. In the meantime, environmental groups have stated their opposition to the expansion of the field, citing concerns over potential damage to sealife in the area and taking these concerns all the way up to the High Courts. Representatives from a lobbying office representing the country's largest energy companies have been meeting with both government officials and environmentalists to come to some sort of agreement over the last few weeks. These efforts were taken into account in the fasttracking of the project, with the government officially stating, "We are not seeing any evidence of a significant threat posed to sealife in the White-Ridge field." according to a press officer from the Energy Ministry.

The expansion of the offshore gas fields are projected to add an additional 8% to the nation's proven reserves, and more details pertaining to the auctioning of parcels in the new zone will be released in the near future.

The second project to be expedited, the Blackmare 2 offshore windpark follows the completion of the Blackmare 1 project last year. The plans for the second windpark in the country's history were submitted shortly after construction on the first began. The Blackmare 2 project will produce an expected 5MW of electricity, and will provide power to Leemouth Harbour, and industrial facilities in the area. The construction of Blackmare 2 is expected ot take five years based on the lessons learned from the first offshore field.

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