Wind Power

UK Approves 750-Megawatt Offshore Wind Project

The U.K. approved construction of one of the biggest offshore wind farms as the country chases a European Union target to get 15 percent of all energy from renewables by 2020.

The consent allows Dong Energy A/S to install up to 750 megawatts of turbines at the Walney Extension project in the Irish Sea off northwest England’s Cumbria, the Planning Inspectorate said today in an e-mailed statement. Denmark’s Dong said it expects to put in about 660 megawatts of turbines, enough to power as many as a half-million homes.

“This decision to grant development consent now clears the way for the company to make a final investment decision on the project,” Benj Sykes, vice president of U.K. wind for Dong, said in an e-mailed statement.

The U.K. already has more than half of the world’s installed offshore wind-generating capacity, and is pushing the technology to help meet its renewable energy targets.

Dong expects to use 6- to 8-megawatt turbines, it said. The utility owns 50.1 percent of the project, SSE Plc owns 25.1 percent and a joint venture between Dutch pension administrator PGGM and Ampere Equity Fund own the remainder. The project was awarded guaranteed power contracts by the government in April.

It’s the second approval in less than two months for a U.K. project by Dong, the biggest offshore wind developer. Its 250- megawatt Burbo Bank Extension project in Liverpool Bay was granted approval on Sept. 26. That’s next to an existing 90- megawatt farm, and the Walney extension is adjacent to the existing 367-megawatts of Walney 1 and 2 wind farms.

The U.K. currently has 22 operational offshore wind farms totaling 3,653 megawatts of capacity, according to the RenewableUK lobby group. The biggest is the 630-megawatt London Array, a collaboration between four companies, including Dong and EON SE. While no bigger project is currently under construction, today’s approval is the fifth of 750 megawatts or greater to receive consent, according to the data.

Copyright 2014 Bloomberg

Lead image: Offshore wind via Shutterstock