The consortium behind the 630 MW London Array, currently the world's largest wind farm, has announced it will not proceed with the development of Phase 2 of the U.K. project.
Consortium members DONG Energy, E.ON and Masdar say the decision follows a review of their respective portfolios, the technical challenges and the environmental uncertainties surrounding the site, which require a wait of at least three years until Phase 2's potential impact on birds could be completely assessed.
"Phase 2 has always been subject to a Grampian condition, requiring London Array to demonstrate that any change caused by the additional turbines to the habitat of the Red Throated Divers that overwinter in this part of the Thames Estuary would not compromise its status as a designated environmental Special Protection Area," explains Mike O'Hare, general manager of London Array.
"We believe it will take until at least January 2017 for that data to be collected, and although initial findings from the existing Phase 1 site look positive, there is no guarantee at the end of three years that we will be able to satisfy the authorities that any impact on the birds would be acceptable."
London Array has formally requested The Crown Estate to terminate the agreement for lease for the Phase 2 area and has cancelled the remaining grid capacity it had reserved at a National Grid substation.
The original consent for London Array was for a wind farm of up to 1 GW. The first 630 MW phase came online last year, and the consortium says Phase 2 had the potential to provide capacity for a further 370 MW – although known constraints resulted in plans for just 240 MW being drawn up, with an expectation that the final capacity would be closer to 200 MW.