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E.ON Humber wind farm faces MoD opposition

E.ON, the power generator, has today submitted a planning application to build a £700m wind farm off the east Yorkshire coast, despite opposition from the Ministry of Defence.

If the Humber Gateway project is given the go-ahead it will be one of the largest offshore wind farms in British waters, capable of generating 300 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 195,000 homes, according to the company.

The application is the first since the business and enterprise secretary, John Hutton, called for more than 33 gigawatts of offshore wind-generating capacity to be installed by 2020. The 300-megawatt production of Humber Gateway would be less than one third of a gigawatt.

The opposition from the MoD is likely to make the application a test of the government’s commitment to offshore wind farms. The MoD is understood to have objected to the project because it could cause interference with its radar operations.

If its objections are successful it would halt not only E.ON’s plans but also those of other companies that are hoping to build wind farms in the area.

E.ON UK’s chief executive Dr Paul Golby said: “The next generation of large-scale offshore windfarms like Humber Gateway have a vital role to play in the UK’s future energy mix.

“This scheme will displace the emissions of hundreds of thousands of tonnes of carbon dioxide every year and will make a significant contribution to helping the government meet its tough renewable energy targets.”

E.ON said the MoD had not raised objections when it was initially consulted about Humber Gateway in 2004 and that it was optimistic it could reach agreement.

“We’re speaking to both the MoD and DBERR [Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform] and we’re confident that we can find a way forward,” Golby said.

Mark Milner

The Guardian

7 April 2008