£4bn wind farm shelved amid investment and policy uncertainty



RWE Npower has dropped plans to build a 240-turbine wind farm in the Bristol Channel that would have powered nearly 1m homes, saying it was “not the right time” for the project.

The 1,200 megawatt (MW) offshore farm, called Atlantic Array, would have powered around 900,000 homes, as well as creating thousands of jobs during the construction phase.

But the energy company has abandoned the project, in a move that has angered green campaigners and may concern renewable energy investors.

RWE’s director of offshore wind, Paul Cowling, 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.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said that the decision “was made on purely technical grounds and reflects the many complex challenges of constructing offshore wind farms”. However, many have blamed the government’s infighting over green levies for the withdrawal.

Last week, David Cameron was alleged to have said privately that he wanted to get rid of the “green crap” from the energy bill. The rumour, along with the ongoing debate around the green levies review, has worried the renewables and energy efficiency industry, which said that the current uncertainty puts off potential investors.

Speaking about the shelved RWE wind farm, Friends of the Earth’s head of campaigns Andrew Pendleton said, “The government must urgently delve into the reasons why the plug has been pulled on this key wind project, including asking searching questions of its own policies and anti-green rhetoric.

“Wanton green-bashing by some at the heart of the coalition is starting to cost jobs and threaten the future security of our energy supply.

“The UK has some of the finest offshore clean energy resources in the world – we must harness it to wean the nation off dirty and increasingly costly fossil fuels.” 

Further reading:

Downing Street denies Cameron’s ‘green crap’ comments

Green levy review will put 10,000 jobs at risk across UK

Green levy review having a ‘devastating’ impact on energy efficiency industry

Green levies review will not affect renewables incentives, DECC confirms

The Guide to Limitless Clean Energy 2013


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