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Plans for £5.4bn Argyll Array offshore wind farm near Tiree dropped  

Credit:  Massive offshore wind plans dropped | BBC News | 13 December 2013 | www.bbc.co.uk ~~

Plans for a £5.4bn offshore wind farm off the coast of Tiree in the Inner Hebrides have been dropped.

ScottishPower Renewables (SPR) announced it would not proceed with the Argyll Array scheme following technical and environmental site studies.

It cited construction issues and “a significant presence” of basking sharks in the area for its decision.

SPR said it did not consider the project to be financially viable in the short term.

The Argyll Array would have had a capacity of up to 1800MW – enough to power up to a million homes – and up to 300 turbines.

SPR had initially planned for the wind farm to start producing power in 2020.

The decision to drop development work was taken by SPR and the Crown Estate, which manages the seabed around the UK.

In October 2012, the Crown Estate granted a lease for the offshore site, which is located 5km off Tiree and covers about 360 sq km.

But SPR then delayed the project for 12 months in order to complete a series of studies.

‘Not financially viable’

In a statement on Friday, SPR said it had found that construction of the array could be impacted by ground conditions at the site, particularly the presence of hard rock, coupled with “challenging wave conditions”.

It also highlighted the presence of basking sharks, which it said environmental groups continued to study to get a greater understanding of their movements in the area.

Jonathan Cole, head of offshore wind at SPR, said: “We believe it is possible to develop the Argyll Array site, it has the some of the best wind conditions of any offshore zone in the UK.

“However, it is our view that the Argyll Array project is not financially viable in the short term.

“As cost reductions continue to filter through the offshore wind industry, and as construction techniques and turbine technology continues to improve, we believe that the Argyll Array could become a viable project in the long term.”

He added: “The rate of progress in development of foundation and installation technology has been slower than anticipated.

“The current outlook for offshore wind deployment in the UK suggests this will not significantly improve in the short term.

“This supports the view that it could take 10-15 years for the required technology improvements to be available for this project.”

The Crown Estate said the joint decision not to proceed with the array had followed a “very thorough assessment” of a wide range of factors.

Ronnie Quinn, who leads The Crown Estate’s Scottish Energy & Infrastructure team, said: “While there is an excellent wind resource at the Argyll Array site, both organisations agree that the project should not proceed at this point in time.”

SPR said it remained committed to offshore wind projects in the UK, including its 389MW West of Duddon Sands wind farm which is currently under construction in the Irish Sea with DONG Energy.

An application for consent was also submitted in 2012 with Vattenfall for the East Anglia ONE offshore wind farm, which could have a capacity of up to 1200MW.

Source:  Massive offshore wind plans dropped | BBC News | 13 December 2013 | www.bbc.co.uk

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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