The Atlantic Array wind farm looks to have sunk with trace after RWE Innogy pulls out. No doubt demands for higher and higher subsidy faced with united opposition has given the developers concerns as to the profitability of the project. Will it arise as Davey, Cameron and Clegg race to it’s rescue? We watch with interest as Off-shore wind is now the white hope of the coalition. But then they have a habit of backing losers. BBC South West Political Editor Martyn Oates said: “Sources have told us that this will not now go ahead because of problems in financing it.” And that is where wind will meet it’s nemesis and I have always said when the money men get cold feet, the wind will die! The story from RWE Innogy (below) talks of technical considerations but they have surrendered their interest, not sold it, which seems a might strange. This surely brings strong reservations as to Scottish Offshore aspirations in far less benign waters.
And from RWE Innogy
Essen/Swindon, 26 November 2013, RWE Innogy
RWE stops development on Atlantic Array due to technical challenges making the project uneconomic at current time
Technical challenges within the Bristol Channel Zone are significant, including substantially deeper waters and adverse seabed conditions
Costs to overcome such technical challenges are prohibitive in current market conditions
RWE to focus on progressing more technically and economically viable offshore projects
RWE Innogy has reviewed the Atlantic Array Project and the Round 3 Bristol Channel Zone. In comparison with other opportunities in the UK offshore wind portfolio, and in light of the significant technical challenges specific to the zone, identified from intensive research, at the current time, it is not viable for RWE to continue with development in the Bristol Channel Zone.
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 Crown Estate has agreed to RWE Innogy’s request to terminate the agreement for the Bristol Channel Zone, allowing RWE Innogy to stop its development activities in the Zone, and to surrender the option for the Atlantic Array project, thereby removing RWE Innogy’s seabed rights.
Paul Cowling, Director of Offshore Wind at RWE Innogy, said: “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. We will continue to focus on the other less technically challenging offshore projects within our extensive offshore pipeline of up to 5.2GW. Offshore wind remains one of the strategic objectives for RWE and the UK has a major role to play within our portfolio. We are looking forward to the completion of Gwynt-Y-Mor next year. At 576 MW this will become the second largest operating offshore wind farm in the world.”
Speaking on behalf of The Crown Estate, Huub den Rooijen, Head of Offshore Wind said: “Now that the industry has been developing projects for a number of years, there is a much deeper understanding of the characteristics of successful projects and we will see further attrition in the time to come. Paradoxically, this is a positive development because it provides greater clarity to key stakeholders such as supply chain and consenting bodies, and brings greater focus to the investment opportunities.”
Paul Cowling added: “We are very grateful for the support we have received from the many interested parties involved in helping us to develop the Atlantic Array project, however the commercial reality means that in the current market conditions, overcoming the technical challenges within The Bristol Channel Zone would be uneconomic for RWE at this time.”