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Financial Times: DTI approves plans for biggest offshore wind farm

By Ed Crooks, Energy Editor
Published: February 20 2007 02:00 | Last updated: February 20 2007 02:00

Plans for what is set to be Britain’s biggest offshore wind farm when it opens at the end of the decade have been approved by the Department of Trade and Industry.

Greater Gabbard, a joint venture backed by Airtricity of Ireland and Fluor of the US, is intended to generate 500MW of electricity from a site 12 miles off the coast of Suffolk. It will open in 2009 and be up to full capacity the following year.

Patrick Flaherty, Fluor’s managing director, said: “We look forward to working with all involved stakeholders to progress the project to financial close during 2007 so that we can begin the construction works in time to support the government’s 2010 renewables target.”

The government’s target is for 10.4 per cent of the UK’s electricity to be generated from renewables by 2010, up from about 5 per cent today. The wind industry believes it could provide about half.

However, it says it needs the right support in terms of the planning system, the subsidies offered through the Renewables Obligation imposed on the electricity industry, and the price of carbon dioxide in the European Union’s emissions trading scheme.

A larger project, the London Array, backed by Eon of Germany and Royal Dutch Shell, which could have capacity of up to 1,000MW, has become mired in planning delays, in spite of getting approval from the DTI. Swale borough council refused permission for an onshore substation, triggering a public inquiry.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2007

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