London Array och Dogger Bank skalas ner

Mischa 21 Februari, 2014 16:38 Vindkraftverk, Utrikes, I vanlig media Permalink Trackbacks (0)

I en artikel på Oilbarrel meddelas följande.

Floods and storm damage have taken some of the heat off the UK's energy companies, which in recent months have been under fire for rising energy bills, opaque billing calculations and fat cat executive remuneration. In October energy bosses were hauled before parliament to explain the price hikes and they were keen to deflect the blame onto the costs of investing in renewables and meeting climate change targets.

Policy-makers also share blame for dithering while the issue of energy security grows ever more urgent as existing plant is retired and new investments in renewables and nuclear have been slow to close the gap.

This week did nothing to allay fears that a planned ramp in offshore wind will be too little, too late – and too expensive – to head off a looming capacity crunch. Just three months after RWE npower pulled out of the £4 billion Atlantic Array project in the Bristol Channel because the economics did not add up, the consortium behind London Array, one of the UK's flagship offshore wind developments, announced it is axing plans to expand the wind farm to 1 GW.

The decision follows a review by the consortium members DONG Energy, E.ON and Masdar of their respective portfolios, the technical challenges of the project and the environmental uncertainties surrounding the site. London Array has now formally requested The Crown Estate terminates the agreement for lease for the Phase 2 area and has cancelled the remaining grid capacity it had reserved at the National Grid substation at Cleve Hill in Kent.

The environmental issue concerned the need to assess the potential impact of additional turbines on Red Throated Divers that overwinter in this part of the Thames Estuary, which is a designated environmental Special Protection Area. The consortium, which had already scaled back a planned expansion from 370 MW to closer to 200 MW, said it would take until at least 2017 to collect the necessary data with no guarantee that this additional delay and work would secure the necessary approvals from the authorities to move ahead with the expansion. This means the wind farm will remain at 630 MW, already the world's largest offshore wind farm.

London Array's general manager Mike O'Hare said Phase 1 was performing very well, with January 2014 the second successive record month for the amount of electricity generated.

The news from the Thames Estuary came as wind development Forewind decided to scale back its plans for a wind farm in the Dogger Bank Zone in the North Sea, from 9 GW to 7.2 GW. This revision came after more than four years of offshore and onshore surveys and studies, which led the company to target on those projects most likely to yield a positive financial investment decision. Even at 7.2 GW, however, this portfolio of six 1.2 GW projects still offers the potential to more than double the UK's current offshore wind operating capacity.

RenewableUK’s Director of Offshore Renewables, Nick Medic, said despite these disappointments, the UK was still the global leader in offshore wind, with more capacity installed in UK waters than the rest of the world put together.“We have 22 offshore wind farms up and running, 5 under construction, 7 with planning consent and 11 awaiting approval,” said Medic. “We’ve already installed 3,653 megawatts of capacity - enough to power more than two and a half million homes. We have a further 16,500MW in the pipeline – that’s four and a half times as much capacity as we have now.”

For wind sceptics, however, these numbers remain dubious, as capacity is an unreliable marker of actual generation or cost. With mixed messaging from Government about its support for renewable energy, it is getting harder for renewables developers to greenlight multi-billion dollar investments. Policy clarity and certainty has long been the call of the energy industry, be it hydrocarbons or renewables based generation: with an election looming next year, however, the energy policy is likely to remain a political football.

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