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Developers Pull The Plug On One Of The World’s Largest Wind Farm Plans

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Hayley Dixon, The Daily Telgraph

Plans for the Atlantic Array, just off the coast of North Devon, have been abandoned by German-owned developers RWE npower, warning that time is running out for offshore wind. 

An offshore wind farm in North Hoyle, UK, built by RWE.
An offshore wind farm in North Hoyle, UK, built by RWE. Photo: RWE.COM

Plans for one of the world’s largest offshore windfarms off the coast of North Devon have been dropped.

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

Campaigners have blamed David Cameron’s promises to cut green levies, with government infighting said to be causing deep uncertainty in the industry. 

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

Paul Cowling, director of offshore wind at RWE Innogy, said: “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.”

The company said that technical challenges within the Bristol Channel have proved “significant”, including deeper waters and adverse seabed conditions.

Mr Cowling added: “The commercial reality means that in the current market conditions, overcoming the technical challenges within The Bristol Channel Zone would be uneconomic.”

The Crown Estate has accepted their decision and the company has surrendered their seabed rights.

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.

The announcement comes just weeks after Paul Coffey, chief operating officer at RWE’s renewable energy division Innogy, warned that time was running out for offshore wind – blaming green levies and the government’s use of the issue as a “political football”.

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