The Energy Act 2004 received Royal Assent 22 July 2004.
Regarding climate change mitigation, the Act is important in providing the framework for the development of offshore wind and other marine renewable energy sources outside territorial waters.
The Act implemented a range of commitments made in the 2003 Energy White Paper, including those relating to energy efficiency, such as raising building and product standards, and creating an Energy Efficiency Action Plan for the UK.
The Offshore Production of Energy part of the Energy Act 2004 puts in place a comprehensive legal framework for offshore renewable energy projects - wind, wave and tidal - beyond the UK's territorial waters.
The Act establishes a Renewable Energy Zone (REZ), adjacent to the UK's territorial waters, within which renewable energy installations can be established. The Act enables the Crown Estate to award licences for wind farm sites in the REZ on much the same basis as it currently leases sites within territorial waters. The Act gives the Government the additional powers it requires to regulate renewable energy projects in the REZ, principally by extending the requirement for consent under Section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989.
The Act also facilitates a streamlining of the consents process for projects within the REZ and in inshore waters by providing for navigation matters within Section 36. The legislation introduces two new features - a safety zone scheme and a statutory scheme for the decommissioning of offshore renewable energy installations and related electricity lines.