Offshore, Project Development, Wind Power

UK’s London Array Given Green Light

DONG Energy, E.ON and Masdar have announced that they will invest EUR 2.2 billion (US $3 billion) in building the first 630-megawatt (MW) phase of the London Array offshore wind farm in England’s Thames Estuary. The wind farm is set to be build the world’s largest offshore wind farm.

The announcement comes after the UK Government’s recent proposal to increase its support for offshore wind power. The partners are satisfied that the project is now financially viable and are now keen to push ahead with construction and to produce the first renewable power in 2012. Onshore work is now due to start in the summer, with offshore work due to start in early 2011.

The consortium hopes the first phase of 630 MW will be completed and generating in 2012. The first phase will consist of 175 turbines. The second phase will add enough capacity to bring the total to 1000 MW.

The project will supply enough power for around 750,000 homes – or a quarter of Greater London homes – and displace the emission of 1.9 m tonnes of carbon dioxide every year. Once complete, the scheme will be the the world’s largest, and the first 1 gigawatt, offshore wind farm.

The scheme will be built around 12 miles off the coasts of Kent and Essex. The wind farm will be installed on a 90 square mile site and will be built in two phases.

Anders Eldrup, CEO of DONG Energy, said: “I’m thrilled that we today also have the final investment decision on the London Array project. The decision to build the London Array offshore wind farm is a very significant cornerstone in DONG Energy’s strategy to increase the proportion of electricity generated from renewable energy sources. DONG Energy has built approximately half of all offshore wind farms in operation in the world today. Entering into the world’s largest offshore wind farm project further strengthens DONG Energy’s leading position in this field.”

Prime Minister Gordon Brown said: “The London Array is a flagship project in our drive to cut emissions by 80% by 2050 and meet future energy needs. The UK is a world leader in offshore wind farms, creating jobs and prosperity for the economy.  That’s why we have increased our support for this technology as we move towards a low carbon future. E.ON, DONG Energy and Masdar are to be congratulated for their work on the London Array.”

DONG Energy and E.ON agreed to acquire Shell’s stake in the London Array offshore wind farm project last July. Masdar joined the consortium in October 2008. 

Commenting on the news today John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace UK, said:

“Cutting-edge projects like the London Array will help generate clean, secure energy. And they’ll also generate thousands of British jobs … The London Array should be the start of a major expansion of offshore wind to help power Britain. The government now needs to remove the hurdles that have stopped the faster development of the wind industry.”