The world’s largest windfarm is to be built off the coast of South East England, the Government said today.
The London Array windfarm, 12 miles off Kent and Essex, was given the green light by the Department of Trade and Industry today.
It will consist of 341 turbines and occupy an area of 90 square miles between Margate and Clacton.
London Array, a consortium of Shell WindEnergy Ltd, E.On UK Renewables and Core Ltd, is behind the £1.5bn, 1,000 megawatt project.
It claims the windfarm will avoid emissions of up to 1.9m tonnes of carbon dioxide every year and could make up to 10% of the UK Government’s 2010 renewables targets.
A second windfarm, off the coast of Kent, was also given the go-ahead. The Thanet windfarm will be seven miles from North Foreland on the Kent coast and will contain 100 turbines, occupying 13.5 square miles (35 sq km).
The £500m project being developed by Warwick Energy is expected to be completed by 2008. It will supply electricity to around 240,000 homes.
The combined might of both windfarms will be enough to power a third of London’s 3m households, or the combined households of Kent and Sussex.
Secretary of State for Trade and Industry Alistair Darling said: ‘It is a significant step forward in providing a greener and clean source of power. Britain is second only to Denmark in the offshore wind sector and projects such as the London Array, which will be the biggest in the world when completed, and Thanet underline the real progress that is being made.
‘Achieving rapid growth in offshore renewables is essential if we are to reduce carbon emissions and improve the security of our energy supplies.’
Environment Secretary David Miliband added: ‘We expect this announcement will be the first of a number of large-scale offshore windfarms in the UK and will provide real impetus for the continued developments in the offshore renewable energy sector that will benefit generations to come.
‘By issuing the licences to build the world’s largest offshore windfarms in the Thames Estuary, we are reinforcing the UK’s commitment to renewable energy and combating climate change and ocean acidification.’
Warwick Energy director Mark Petterson said: ‘The emphasis must now be on the timely delivery of new renewable energy capacity to make a real impact on CO2 emissions. We urge all involved to stay focused on the important tasks ahead.’
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