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Thanet wind farm plan blown off course

Plans for a large extension to the world’s largest offshore wind farm off the Kent coast have been axed.

Earlier this year, Swedish energy giant Vattenfall was told it could boost capacity at the Thanet Offshore Wind Farm by 147MW.

The wind farm’s 100 turbines, which began generating power last month, currently produce up to 300MW of electricity.

Up to 49 extra turbines could have been installed had Vattenfall accepted the offer from The Crown Estate – a property portfolio owned by the Crown.

However, Vattenfall announced on Wednesday that it would not be progressing an application to extend its Thanet operation.

The company, which had to complete the extension before the end of The Crown Estate’s current leasing round, said it would take too long to upgrade the National Grid.

David Hodkinson, head of development at Vattenfall, said: “Our decision will no doubt come as a disappointment to many local people.

“It’s one that we haven’t taken lightly, given our strong relationship and commitment to the Thanet area.

“We hope there will be an opportunity to extend the wind farm in the future, but for now we’ll focus on operating the existing turbines safely and productively.”

Meanwhile, Vattenfall confirmed it is seeking an extension to its Kentish Flats wind farm, located just around the coast from the Thanet project to the north of Herne Bay and Whitstable.

Between 10 and 17 turbines could be added to the 30 that are currently operating in the Thames Estuary.