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Anglesey giant windfarm plan still set to go ahead

Plans for a giant windfarm off the coast of Anglesey are moving ahead despite concerns political pressure over household bills could stifle investment.

Yesterday energy company RWE pulled the plug on developing one of the world’s largest offshore wind farms in the Bristol Channel.

While the Government said this decision was made on purely “technical grounds” it has left concerns that rows over green levies could impact investment on energy schemes.

But Centrica Energy/DONG said they were progressing their 440 own turbine scheme for the Irish Sea with a formal round of consultation in early 2014 and a planning application later on in the year.

Robert Norris, from Renewable UK, said: “The issues that prevented the RWE project from going ahead were very specific to this site and would not affect other sites in the UK.”

He added: “Over time the amount of support from Government will reduce but this will be in line with the reduction of costs of wind farms which should happen due to economies of scale and the lessons we learn from existing projects. The industry appreciates this has to be done.”

He added: “There is though concern about the mixed messages that are coming out of Government on renewables. This is putting investment at risk.”

Anglesey MP Albert Owen said he did not believe the specific issues with the RWE project would impact on the Irish Sea scheme but said the Government did need to offer clear signals on its energy policy.

He said: “Energy companies need stability to invest the large sums of money into long term projects like windfarms and the Government is sending out mixed messages on it.”

After announcing the halting of Atlantic Array scheme the German group said the costs were “prohibitive in current market conditions”.

Energy firms are under pressure after steep recent rises in gas and electricity tariffs but argue they need profits to invest in power generation including from renewable sources.

The Government said RWE’s decision to abandon the Atlantic Array project, whose cost is reportedly £4bn, was made “on purely technical grounds”.

RWE Innogy said it presented significant challenges including deep waters and adverse seabed conditions and it would focus instead on more technically and economically viable offshore projects.

A spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said: “The decision not to proceed with the development is a matter for RWE. It was made on purely technical grounds and reflects the many complex challenges of constructing offshore wind farms. The UK still expects to deploy significant amounts of offshore wind by 2020.”