The government today gave the go-ahead for two major offshore wind farms, the London Array and Thanet systems, to be built in the Thames Estuary.
The schemes could together produce 1.3GW of green electricity, enough to power a third of
The London Array will consist of 341 turbines, each capable of generating 3 to 7MW, five offshore sub-stations and four meteorological masts. They will rise from the sea 20km off the
The £500m Thanet wind farm will be located approximately 11.3km from North Foreland on the
The Thanet consortium, made up of E.ON
The consent for the onshore substation, necessary to connect London Array into the national grid, remains outstanding and will now be subject to a public inquiry.
Andrew Murfin, a Director of London Array Limited, said: ‘This is a significant step forward in the development of the London Array offshore wind farm. The UK government has a target of 10 per cent of energy generation from renewables by 2010 and an aspiration to double that by 2020; to help reach these targets it is imperative that large scale wind farms such as London Array get the go-ahead and are built in the not too distant future.’
Secretary of State for Trade and Industry Alistair Darling said: ‘Together, once built, they will mark a significant stride towards our renewables target. It is a significant step forward in providing a greener and clean source of power.
Environment Secretary David Miliband added: ‘We expect this announcement will be the first of a number of large-scale offshore wind farms in the UK and will provide real impetus for the continued developments in the offshore renewable energy sector that will benefit generations to come.
‘By issuing the licences to build the world's largest offshore wind farms in the Thames Estuary we are re-enforcing the
Brian Robinson, from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers said: ‘IMechE warmly welcomes this announcement. The Thames Estuary is ideal for large-scale wind-power schemes because it is both windy and near to large numbers of electricity consumers. The
Dr Robert Gross, Head of Technology and Policy Assessment at the UK Energy Research Centre said: ‘The London Array has the potential to contribute to two important goals: the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and the improvement of energy security through diversity of supply.
Philip Wolfe, chief executive of the Renewable Energy Association offered a cautious welcome to the project, saying: ‘The industry welcomed today's announcement, but drew attention to the time it has taken to get these first 'round two' offshore projects to consent stage. We need much faster planning and connection processes. The rate of deployment of renewable installations of all types needs to accelerate dramatically to meet our climate change and energy security targets’.