THE Danish company behind Walney Offshore Wind Farm says wind energy can provide a clean alternative to nuclear power.

The chief executive of Dong Energy, Henrik Poulsen, was speaking after the government delayed a decision on a new nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point, in Somerset, amid concerns about the £18bn cost of the project and the high price of the electricity that would be generated.

Theresa May's new administration wants more time to look at the costs and expects to announce a decision in the autumn.

In the meantime, Mr Poulsen argues that the UK does not need to rely on nuclear power to meet future energy needs.

He said: “Could you build a national energy policy without nuclear? Yes you could and if you needed to fill a (energy capacity) gap offshore, wind could be accelerated to fill such a gap.

“We hope offshore wind will remain a key component in the future energy system and are optimistic about prospects under the new government.”

Dong confirmed in October that it would be moving forward with a major extension to the windfarm off the coast of Walney. The extension is due to be completed and fully commissioned in 2018, when it will become the largest offshore windfarm in the world, eclipsing the London Array.

The combined electricity output of the completed Walney site will be 660MW and will provide renewable electricity for close to half a million homes.

Dong Energy released its half-year results last week revealing a healthy profit and a huge growth in the profitability of wind power.

It was the company's first set of results since an initial public offering on the Danish stockmarket valued the business at £10bn.

The first six months of 2016 saw a 19 per cent increase in operating profit to 12.4bn Danish krone (£1.4bn) with underlying growth of 34 per cent.

The growth of the company is attributable, in particular, to wind power, which saw a 68 per cent increase in operating profit.

The firm has been awarded the contract to build the Dutch Borssele 1 and 2 offshore windfarms in the coming four years.

And Dong has become the latest Furness employer to play down the impact of the EU referendum result.

Mr Poulsen also said that the Brexit result would not affect its projects in the UK, adding that the demand for power was a national concern.

He added: “We still see very solid interest for the projects in the UK, I believe that investors understand that we do not foresee any changes to the UK offshore wind market because of Brexit.

“The buildout in the UK is driven by a number of national needs and considerations rather than EU membership, and investors are fully aware of that.

“In terms of currency impact the development of the pound rate has been part of the discussion with potential investors.”