19 February 2014 10:25
LONDON ARRAY TO STAY AT 630MW
The consortium behind London Array has today (19 February) announced it will not proceed with the development of Phase 2 of the offshore wind farm.
The decision follows a review by the consortium members of their respective portfolios, the technical challenges and the environmental uncertainties surrounding the site, which require a wait of at least three years until Phase 2's potential impact on birds could be completely assessed.
London Array has formally requested The Crown Estate to terminate the agreement for lease for the Phase 2 area and has cancelled the remaining grid capacity it had reserved at the National Grid substation at Cleve Hill, Graveney, Kent.
General Manager Mike O'Hare said: "Phase 2 has always been subject to a Grampian condition requiring London Array to demonstrate that any change caused by the additional turbines to the habitat of the Red Throated Divers that overwinter in this part of the Thames Estuary would not compromise its status as a designated environmental Special Protection Area.
"We believe it will take until at least January 2017 for that data to be collected and although initial findings from the existing Phase 1 site look positive, there is no guarantee at the end of three years that we will be able to satisfy the authorities that any impact on the birds would be acceptable.
"In the absence of any certainty that Phase 2 would be able to go ahead, our shareholders have decided to surrender The Crown Estate agreement for lease on the site, terminate the grid connection option, and concentrate on other development projects in their individual portfolios. Our existing operations at Ramsgate and staffing levels are unaffected."
The original consent for London Array was for a wind farm of up to 1000MW, with 630MW in Phase 1 - which is complete, fully operational and the world's largest offshore wind farm. Phase 2 had the potential to provide capacity for a further 370MW although known constraints on site resulted in plans for just 240MW being drawn up with an expectation that the final capacity would be closer to 200MW.
Mike O'Hare added: "The Phase 2 site is technically more challenging than Phase 1 with a large area in very shallow water. Additional issues include a difficult and longer route for the export cables and an exclusion zone for aggregates operations.
"Phase 1 is performing very well with January 2014 London Array's second successive record month for the amount of electricity generated. Our shareholders remain committed to offshore wind in the UK, however the combination of environmental uncertainties, technical challenges and the option to develop other sites has resulted in their decision not to proceed with Phase 2."
The project consortium has the following shareholdings: DONG Energy owns 50%, E.ON has 30% and Masdar has 20%.
For further information about London Array, visit www.londonarray.com.