Dong and Centrica unveil 2.2GW offshore plan

UK: Centrica and Dong Energy have revealed plans to develop the 4.3GW Celtic Array Round 3 concession in the Irish Sea.

The consortium is proposing to develop a project - dubbed the Rhiannon wind farm - 19 kilometres off the island of Anglesey, Wales, and 34 kilometres from the Isle of Man.

The project would have a capacity of up to 2.2GW and comprise between 147 and 440 turbines. If the developer installs the maximum number of turbines and capacity, the machines will be 5MW.

Currently, Repower and Gamesa are the only manufacturers planning to, or offering, 5MW turbines. In a planning document released in April, the anticipated turbine sizes ranged from 5MW, 6MW, 7MW, 12MW and 15MW.

An application for Rhiannon is expected to be made to the Planning Inspectorate by the end of next year. The connection point for the project is expected to be on Anglesey, although this is subject to planning approval.

A formal consulation is likely to start before the end of 2012 with a formal consent application to be made in Q4 2013. The consortium aims to begin constructing the project in 2016.

The Celtic Array concession has an overall capacity of 4.3GW. In March, Dong signed a deal with Centrica to co-develop its 4.2GW of Round 3 concession in the Irish Sea.

According to the developers, the Zonal Appraisal and Planning process has identiified three areas for development within the zone. The other two are to the north and west of Rhiannon.

Dong paid Centrica £40 million in cash to acquire a 50% share of the project. £15 million was paid up front. Under the agreement, the balance would be paid when consent for a project was granted and both parties agreed to proceed.

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