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Offshore wind projects stall

Written by  Tuesday, 26 November 2013 03:52

More offshore wind projects could be scrapped in the UK, an official has warned, after it was announced that technical challenges had brought a halt to a 1200 MW project in the UK’s Bristol Channel. 

RWE Innogy said its planned Atlantic Array project in the Bristol Channel Zone was not currently viable in light of “significant technical challenges specific to the zone” and there being other more feasible projects in UK waters in its portfolio.

RWE did not explain what the specific technical challenges were in the Bristol Channel. The company said it believes the industry needs to develop further to enable such projects, cost effectively. 

A spokesman for the Crown Estate agreed. Huub den Rooijen, head of offshore wind at the Crown Estate, warned there could be further attrition in the market. However, he said this could be positive. 

“Now that the industry has been developing projects for a number of years, there is a much deeper understanding of the characteristics of successful projects, and we will see further attrition in the time to come,” he said. “Paradoxically, this is a positive development because it provides greater clarity to key stakeholders such as supply chain and consenting bodies, and brings greater focus to the investment opportunities.” 

RWE said: “As the offshore wind industry develops over the next decade and on the back of more viable technologies being demonstrated, expected innovation and cost reduction may in the future open up opportunities in the more challenging areas, such as in the Bristol Channel.”

The Crown Estate has agreed to a request to terminate RWE Innogy’s agreement for the Bristol Channel zone, and to surrender the option for the Atlantic Array project, removing RWE Innogy’s seabed rights. 

Paul Cowling, Director of Offshore Wind at RWE Innogy, said: “This is not a decision we have taken lightly, however given the technological challenges and market conditions, now is not the right time for RWE to continue to progress with this project.” 

The project would have seen a wind farm built, with the capacity to generate up to 1200 MW of renewable energy. 

The Atlantic Array wind farm would have been about 16.5km from the closest point to shore on the North Devon coast, 22.5km from the closest point to shore on the South Wales coast, and 13.5km from Lundy Island.

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