FRANKFURT: German power giant RWE said it had decided not to go ahead with a plans to build a gigantic wind farm in the Bristol Channel on Britain’s west coast.
“RWE Innogy has reviewed the Atlantic Array Project and the Round 3 Bristol Channel Zone,” RWE said in statement.
“In comparison with other opportunities in the British 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,” it said.
Atlantic Array would have been one of the largest wind farms in the world with as many as 240 wind turbines generating up to 1,200 megawatts (MW) of power, supplying 900,000 households.
But there was also fierce resistance to the project from environmentalist groups.
RWE said the project might become more viable again in the future as “expected innovation and cost reduction… open up opportunities in the more challenging areas, such as in the Bristol Channel.”
“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,” said RWE Innogy’s head of offshore wind, Paul Cowling.
“We will continue to focus on the other less technically challenging offshore projects. Offshore wind remains one of the strategic objectives for RWE and Britain has a major role to play within our portfolio,” Cowling said.
In London, a spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said: “The decision not to proceed with the development is a matter for RWE.
“It was made on purely technical grounds and reflects the many complex challenges of constructing offshore wind farms,” the spokesman said.
“The UK still expects to deploy significant amounts of offshore wind by 2020 and we remain well placed to meet our 2020 renewable energy target.”
Nevertheless, industry watchers said RWE’s decision will make it more difficult for the British government to achieve its target of generating 15 percent of its energy from renewables by 2020.
In October, a report by the European Environment Agency found that Britain fell short of goals for 2011-2012, generating 3.8 percent of its energy from renewables instead of the 4.0 percent targetted.