DONG Energy and Centrica have decided to cease development of offshore wind farms in the Round 3 Irish Sea Zone through their joint venture vehicle, Celtic Array Ltd. In 2012, the companies joined forces to co-develop projects in the zone, which they said had a potential capacity of 4.2 GW.
According to the companies, an assessment of the zone has confirmed challenging ground conditions at the site that make development economically unviable. In a statement, a spokesperson for the joint venture says, "We're disappointed not to be progressing with our work to develop wind farms in the Irish Sea Zone; however, our assessments have shown that ground conditions are such that it's not viable for us to proceed with the technology that's available at this stage."
In 2010, Centrica had won exclusive development rights in the Irish Sea Zone as part of The Crown Estate's Round 3 offshore wind program. DONG Energy later teamed up with Centrica, and their first proposed project in the zone was the 2.2 GW Rhiannon Wind Farm.
The Crown Estate says it has confirmed the developers' assessment of the zone and has allowed the companies to end their offshore wind zone agreement and terminate their seabed rights.
"We understand that this will be disappointing for many, but improvements and de-risking of new technologies may one day in the future make it economic to develop in some parts of the area," comments Huub den Rooijen, The Crown Estate's head of offshore wind. Nonetheless, The Crown Estate says it has no plans to re-offer the zone to the market.