Green light for world's largest wind farm

Posted: 12 May 2009

Three major energy companies announced today that they will go ahead with the world's largest offshore wind farm, in the United Kingdom.

London Array location map
London Array location map
London Array location map.
DONG Energy, E.ON and Masdar say they will invest €2.2bn in building the first 630MW phase of the London Array offshore wind farm in the Thames Estuary.

Once complete, the scheme will be the world's largest, and the first 1GW, offshore wind farm. The project will supply enough power for around 750,000 homes - or a quarter of Greater London homes - and displace the emission of 1.9m tonnes of CO2 every year.

Today's 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 keen to push ahead with construction and to produce the first renewable power in 2012.

Offshore windfarm, Scroby Sands
Offshore windfarm, Scroby Sands
Offshore windfarm, Scroby Sands, off Great Yarmouth. Similar generators will be used for the London Array.
Dong Energy has built approximately half of all offshore wind farms in operation in the world today, while E.ON's CEO, Dr Wulf Bernotat, said his company "aims to become the world's largest offshore wind farm developer. Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, CEO of Masdar, said the project was "a great achievement for the UK government, E.ON, DONG Energy and Masdar, which exemplifies our commitment to build cooperation to take renewable energy further down the path to widespread global adoption."

World leader

UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown said: "The London Array is a flagship project in our drive to cut emissions by 80 per cent 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."

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband said: "The UK is already the world's leading offshore wind power and this multi-billion pound project will help keep us there, cut our carbon emissions and contribute to secure energy supplies."

Onshore work is due to start in the summer, with offshore work due to start in early 2011.

London array
London array
How the London Array in the Thames Estuary will look.
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. The consortium hopes the first phase of 630MW 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 1,000MW.

Green jobs

Commenting on plans to go ahead with the first phase of the London array, Friends of the Earth Executive Director Andy Atkins said:

"It's fantastic news that the UK will be home to the world's largest offshore wind farm. London Array will cut UK emissions, reduce our dependency on fossil fuels and create hundreds of new green jobs.

"The UK has the best offshore wind resource in Europe - Ministers must ensure that more projects like this are developed so that Britain reaps the huge employment, business and environmental benefits of clean, green energy.

"This must include a new super-grid to ensure we get maximum benefit from offshore energy, and greater efforts to make sure that turbines are built in Britain - not imported from abroad."

Related links:

Wind power installations up 29 per cent in 2008

World wind power reaches 100,000 megawatts