26 Nov 2013

Blown away? Giant wind farm plans ‘scrapped’

Plans to build one of the world’s largest offshore wind farms in the UK could be scrapped after developers are said to have pulled out of the project.

Financial concerns seem to be behind the decision by the German-owned RWE npower to pull the plug on the 240-turbine Atlantic Array project.

The scheme had drawn criticism from environmentalists who were worried about its impact on marine wildlife in the Bristol Channel and campaigns who have branded the project for 720-ft high turbines as unsightly.

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Paul Cowling, director of offshore wind at RWE Innogy, told the Guardian: “This is not a decision we have taken lightly; however, given the technological challenges and market conditions, now is not the right time for RWE to continue to progress with this project.”

‘Pressing ahead’

It is not known if any other firm will take over the project which would have powered hundreds of thousands of homes in the region.

Mr Cowling claimed that RWE is still backing offshore wind and would be pressing ahead with other projects off Britain’s coastline.

Richard Sandford, head of European projects offshore at RWE, also denied that the Atlantic Array was dropped as part of a money saving drive at the company.

He told the Guardian: “This really is project-specific and not at all down to other considerations. We are still proceeding with schemes like Galloper and Triton Knoll, off the east coast of the country.”

A Department of Energy and Climate Change spokesman told the BBC the scrapping of the scheme was a matter for the developer, but the decision “was made on purely technical grounds and reflects the many complex challenges of constructing offshore windfarms”.