Dong, Centrica quit Irish Sea Zone

Partners Dong and Centrica have pulled out of the 4.2GW UK offshore wind Irish Sea zone.

A statement from Centrica said: “The decision to stop development comes as a result of an assessment of the zone, which has confirmed challenging ground conditions that make the project economically unviable with current technology.”

The two were looking to develop the Round 3 zone via a 50/50 joint venture called Celtic Array.

The first wind farm in the zone off northwest England was to have been the 2.2GW Rhiannon development, for which planning started in 2012.

UK seabed landlord the Crown Estate said it has no immediate plans to re-offer the zone.

Head of offshore wind at The Crown Estate, Huub den Rooijen said:“We have confirmed the developers’ assessment of the zone, which shows that challenging ground conditions make this project economically unviable with current technology.

“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."

The project is the latest UK offshore wind development area to fall by the wayside, after developers earlier walked away from the Atlantic Array and Argyll Array.

UK industry body RenewableUK said the news was disappointing, but stressed there is plenty left in the tank for the UK offshore wind sector.

Director of offshore renewables Nick Medic said: “Although it’s disappointing that this particular project isn't going ahead, the reasons are understandable. Conditions on the sea bed would make the project economically unviable at this stage.

“However, let’s not forget that one of the Celtic Array partners, Dong Energy, already has a healthy pipeline of seven offshore wind farms up and running in UK waters, another two under construction, a further project approved and three others in the final stages of gaining consent.

“Overall we still have over 37GW of offshore wind capacity in the UK’s project pipeline," Medic added.