Plans for Atlantic Array wind turbines pulled by developer

Energy giant RWE has pulled the plug on plans to develop one of the largest offshore wind turbines

A A A

Energy giant RWE has pulled the plug on plans to develop one
of the world's largest offshore wind farms near the north Devon coast amid
concerns that political pressure over household bills could stifle investment.

The German group, which also owns Big Six supplier npower, said the costs of the Atlantic Array project in the Bristol Channel were "prohibitive in current market conditions" and it was “not the right time” to build the proposed farm.

The Government said RWE's decision to shelve plans for the Atlantic Array project, whose cost is reportedly £4 billion, was based "on purely technical grounds".

Energy firms are under pressure after steep recent price hikes in gas and electricity tariffs but argue that they need profits to be able to invest in power generation including from renewable sources.

Latest figures revealed Big Six profits from household supply multiplied five-fold in three years, sparking further anger.

RWE Innogy, which was developing the site, said it presented significant challenges including deep waters and adverse seabed conditions and it would focus instead offshore projects that are more technically and economically viable.

It said the challenges had been identified from "intensive research", but said new technologies could open it up again in the future.

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."

Mr Cowling said RWE was still backing offshore wind and would be pressing ahead with other projects off Britain's coastline.

But he added: "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."

The 240-turbine project had drawn criticism from environmentalists concerned about its impact on marine wildlife and campaigners who have branded 720ft (219m) high turbines unsightly.

Trade organisation RenewableUK said the decision was disappointing but not surprising as the project was "always going to be technically challenged" because of its deep-water, seabed location.

Chief executive Maria McCaffery told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: "When the whole energy sector is under such pressure to reduce costs, they really can't take the chance of deploying in a place where it would be more expensive because ultimately that would have to be translated into fuel bills."

A spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said: "The decision not to proceed with the development is a matter for RWE.

"It was made on purely technical grounds and reflects the many complex challenges of constructing offshore wind farms.

"The UK still expects to deploy significant amounts of offshore wind by 2020 and we remain well placed to meet our 2020 renewable energy target."

Additional reporting by Press Association

Voices
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas