Video: RWE confirms it is abandoning plans for Atlantic Array

An offshore wind farm is being proposed for the Bristol Channel, eight miles off the North Devon Coast This image shows the North Hoyle offshore wind farm, situated in Liverpool Bay in North East Wales. An offshore wind farm is being proposed for the Bristol Channel, eight miles off the North Devon Coast This image shows the North Hoyle offshore wind farm, situated in Liverpool Bay in North East Wales.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013
8:34 AM

Giant North Devon offshore wind farm shelved due to ‘technical challenges’.

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Construction of the Greater Gabbard offshore wind farm, off the coast of Suffolk. Picture: RWEConstruction of the Greater Gabbard offshore wind farm, off the coast of Suffolk. Picture: RWE

THE company behind the Atlantic Array offshore wind farm has today (Tuesday) confirmed reports it has abandoned the £3.8 billion project.

RWE npower said ‘technical challenges’ had made the 240-turbine development ‘uneconomic’ at the current time.

The scheme being proposed nine miles off the North Devon coast was awaiting approval from the Government.

In a statement released this morning, 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.

“We will continue to focus on the other less technically challenging offshore projects within our extensive offshore pipeline of up to 5.2GW.

“Offshore wind remains one of the strategic objectives for RWE and the UK has a major role to play within our portfolio.

“We are looking forward to the completion of Gwynt-Y-Mor next year. At 576 MW this will become the second largest operating offshore wind farm in the world.”

The company said technical challenges within the Bristol Channel Zone were significant, including substantially deeper waters and adverse seabed conditions.

Costs to overcome such technical challenges were considered to be ‘prohibitive’ in current market conditions.

RWE said it would focus on progressing more technically and economically viable offshore projects but did not rule out the possibility of re-visiting the Bristol Channel as more viable technology develops over the next decade.

The Crown Estate, which leased the Zone Eight seabed rights to RWE, has agreed to the company’s request to terminate the agreement, stop its development activities and surrender the option for the Atlantic Array project.

Huub den Rooijen, The Crown Estate’s head of offshore wind, said: “Now that the industry has been developing projects for a number of years, there is a much deeper understanding of the characteristics of successful projects and we will see further attrition in the time to come.

“Paradoxically, this is a positive development because it provides greater clarity to key stakeholders such as supply chain and consenting bodies, and brings greater focus to the investment opportunities.”

Paul Cowling added: “We are very grateful for the support we have received from the many interested parties involved in helping us to develop the Atlantic Array project, however the commercial reality means that in the current market conditions, overcoming the technical challenges within The Bristol Channel Zone would be uneconomic for RWE at this time.”

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