Giant wind farm spins closer to launch

A vast wind farm in the Thames Estuary came a decisive step closer to completion yesterday as a consortium including Barclays

was appointed as the preferred bidder for the scheme's high-voltage power link.

Blue Transmission, a consortium which also includes the Australian infrastructure fund Macquarie Capital and Mitsubishi Corporation, has been selected by energy regulator Ofgem to own and operate the multi-million-pound transmission link that will transport power from the London Array offshore wind farm in the Thames Estuary.

The wind farm, which will be the world's biggest, is being developed by Dong Energy, E.ON and Masdar and will eventually supply enough electricity to power a quarter of London's homes.

The first phase of the £1.7bn project will use 175 turbines to generate 630 megawatts of power – equivalent to the output of a small gas or coal-fired power station and enough to supply some 470,000 homes. The second phase will bring the total to 217 turbines, generating 1,000 megawatts – enough power for 750,000 homes.

Each turbine will tower 147 metres above the shallow waters between Kent and Essex.

The first phase of the project is nearing completion and is due to come on-stream next spring.

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