Developer withdraws plans for Bristol Channel wind farm

Renewable energy developer RWE Innogy has withdrawn its plans for a huge offshore wind farm in the Bristol Channel, saying that technological challenges and market conditions make the project economically unviable at the current time.

Offshore turbines: developer has shelved plans (picture: Nuon, Flickr)
Offshore turbines: developer has shelved plans (picture: Nuon, Flickr)

RWE submitted an application for the Atlantic Array offshore wind farm to the Planning Inspectorate, which determines applications for nationally significant infrastructure projects, in June. PINS accepted the project for examination in July and a preliminary meeting was due to take place next month.

The proposal comprised the construction and operation of up to 240 turbines, with an installed capacity of up to 1,200MW.

In a statement, RWE said that, "in comparison with other opportunities in the UK offshore wind portfolio, and in light of the significant technical challenges specific to the zone, identified from intensive research, at the current time, it is not viable for RWE to continue with development in the Bristol Channel Zone".

The statement said that the Crown Estate, which manages most of the seabed around the UK, has agreed to RWE’s request to terminate the agreement for the Bristol Channel Zone, allowing the firm to stop its development activities in the zone, and to surrender the option for the Atlantic Array project, thereby removing the organisation’s seabed rights.

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."

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