Britain's biggest wind farm wins approval

Posted: 2 October 2007

Britain's biggest wind farm has won final planning approval. Consisting of 270 turbines, the London Array will be erected 12 miles off the Kent coast. It will produce enough electricity to power 750,000 homes, equivalent to a quarter of Greater London's homes.

London array
London array
How the London Array in the Thames Estuary will look.
The environmental campaign group, Friends of the Earth said the decision showed that renewables could deliver a clean, secure and reliable supply of energy for the UK. It called on the Government to encourage greater investment in carbon free technologies by strengthening its proposals for a new Climate Change Law.

The six-week deadline to appeal against planning permission expired at midnight. The 1000 MW project will provide one per cent of the UK's entire electricity demand and prevent 1.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide going into the atmosphere every year.

Environmental groups argue that if the UK is going to meet the new European targets of providing 20 per cent of total energy from renewables by 2020, the Government must do more to encourage development of offshore wind farms. Friends of the Earth is calling for the process of awarding sites for the next generation of offshore projects to be speeded up and more done to encourage investment in clean technologies.

Climate Bill

It is urging ministers to give investors greater certainty about the future direction of energy policy by strengthening proposals for a new Climate Bill that would set annual targets for cutting carbon dioxide emissions by at least three per cent every year.

Tony Juniper, Friends of the Earth executive director, said: "This is a landmark day for wind power in the UK. London Array really shows that dramatic cuts in carbon dioxide emissions are possible if we encourage investment in clean technologies."

Energy experts say that wind power is likely to contribute the lion's share of renewable electricity for the foreseeable future. It is cost-competitive with conventional power generation and is particularly suited to the UK, which is endowed with one of the best wind resources in the world.

The Thames Estuary is Europe's lead area for wind power and London Array is spearheading the energy revolution that is taking place offKent's coast. Four 'fully consented' projects planned for the Thames Estuary, including London Array, with a combined capital expenditure of around £5 billion. These wind farms will supply enough electricity to power one and half million homes, enough for half of the households in greater London and two per cent of the UK's overall electricity demand.