RWE, the German energy group and owner of npower in the UK, has pulled out of the £4bn Atlantic Array wind power project off the north Devon coast.
The company said it had stopped development of the project because technical challenges make unviable to continue.
Paul Cowling, Director of Offshore Wind at RWE Innogy, said in a statement: “This is not a decision we have taken lightly, however given the technological challenges and market conditions, now is not the right time for RWE to continue to progress with this project.”
RWE Innogy has faced strong oppostion to its plans to build 240 offshore turbines in an area eight miles from Lundy Island and 10 miles offshore Devon to generate 1,200 megawatts of electricity.
Residents in Devon and Lundy, as well as environmental and heritage groups, claimed the 722ft turbines – more than four times the height of Nelson’s column – could cause lasting damage.
The scheme, which RWE had said would help Britain meet its renewable energy targets and could boost the economy by creating thousands of jobs, has not yet had the go-ahead.
RWE said it would focus on “other less technically challenging offshore projects”. “As the offshore wind industry develops over the next decade and on the back of more viable technologies being demonstrated, expected innovation and cost reduction may in the future open up opportunities in the more challenging areas, such as in the Bristol Channel,” the company said.
The cancelled Atlantic Array project is a blow for the Government, which is looking to bigger windfarms in deeper waters to help provide low-carbon power. It wants to generate 15pc of energy from renewable sources by 2020.
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