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Lloyds List: Big programme on way after Centrica starts first offshore wind farm project

Britain is establishing a position as one of the worlds top energy producers in the sector, Martyn Wingrove
Mar 21, 2006
CENTRICA is lining up GBP750m ($1.3bn) on new offshore wind farms in Britain to ramp up its electricity generating capacity from renewable resources, writes Martyn Wingrove .
The British energy group has started its first offshore project this month off the south Cumbrian coast and has five more in the pipeline to come on line by the end of 2010.
Existing and new wind projects are pushing the country into the world's top producers of power from offshore wind resources.
London-listed Centrica is growing its energy divisions into the upstream sector of the oil and gas business and the growing renewable sector.
It is involved in two wind farm projects in the Greater Wash area off England's east coast that are going through the approval process and should be on stream by 2008.
Centrica is also poised to invest in three more wind farm projects, promoted in the second round of licensing in 2004, also in the Greater Wash area.
'We have five more projects that are approved or going through the consent process,' a Centrica spokesman said.
'Two projects should be constructed in 18 months to two years and three more were in round two and are scheduled to come on line by the end of this decade.'
Centrica's power generation from wind farms started last year when turbines on an onshore farm north of Aberdeen started turning.
This month the company's subsidiary British Gas started buying power from the Barrow Offshore Wind project, run by Danish oil company Dong in the East Irish Sea.
Centrica and Dong are investing more than GBP100m to install and commission 30 turbines on the farm with a combined capacity to generate 90 megawatts of power.
The British group's next offshore projects are likely to go ahead on the Lynn and Inner Dowsing sites by 2008.
Following these the group is looking to be involved in the Race Bank, Docking Shoal and Lincs windfarms on sites further from the coast by 2010, said a spokesman.
All five of these projects have yet to go through the consent process, although Lynn and Inner Dowsing are coming towards sanction dates.
The Barrow Offshore Wind project is the fifth offshore wind farm to come on line off the British coast.
Last year, the Kentish Flats project started off Herne Bay and the Kentish port of Whitstable.
Other farms in operation include Blyth Offshore Wind, one mile off the Northumberland coast, North Hoyle off the north Welsh coast and Scroby Sands off Norfolk.
Among the wealth of new projects waiting for government consent Powergen, Shell and Core are planning to build the world's largest offshore wind farm.
London Array, in the Thames estuary, could be fully operational by 2010 with up to 300 turbines to be installed in 2008-2010 to supply up to 1,000 MW of power to the nation's capital.

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