Areva's Brown to lead Norstec

Areva Wind UK country director Julian Brown has been named the first chairman of Norstec – the industry-led network set up last year to spearhead development of the offshore wind power sector in Europe's northern seas.

Brown will lead a group of more than 80 companies, investors, trade bodies and academics in laying out a long-term vision to "maximise the economic potential" of wind energy in the offshore region.

"This is a truly exciting time as offshore electricity generation establishes itself as a credible and large scale part of the renewable energy portfolio, creating an economic opportunity unmatched since the development of oil and gas in the North Sea in the 1970s," says Brown.

"I look forward to working with the Norstec Steering Group to build the route map for the way ahead and to bring my experience in the wind industry to help spread the message and encourage innovation and investment in offshore renewables."

Trade association RenewableUK welcomed Brown's appointment for the "wealth of experience [he would bring] to this key role".

The Norstec programme was first announced by the UK prime minister David Cameron at the Clean Energy Ministerial Summit in April 2012.