London Array phase two a no-go

The consortium behind the UK’s London Array has decided it will not proceed with the development of phase two of the offshore wind farm in the Thames Estuary.

A statement said the decision follows a review by the consortium members of their respective portfolios, the technical challenges and the environmental uncertainties surrounding the site, which requires a wait of at least three years until phase two’s potential impact on birds could be completely assessed.

London Array has formally requested The Crown Estate to terminate the agreement for lease for the phase two area.

The original consent for London Array was for a project of up to 1GW, with 630MW in phase one – which is fully operational and the world’s largest offshore wind farm.

The extension plan would have added about 240MW at a cost of about €800m ($1.1bn), with a need to take account of the impact on the local habitat of red throated divers.

Today the consortium said: “Phase two 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.

“We believe it will take until at least January 2017 for that data to be collected and although initial findings from the existing phase one 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."

The phase two consortium comprises Dong Energy with 50%, E.ON  with 30% and Masdar with 20%.

Dong recently agreed to sell half its 50% share in the operating first phase to Canadian investment group La Caisse.