London Array generation delay costs Dong millions

UK: A delay in the London Array offshore wind farm generating its first electricity has cost Danish utility Dong Energy DKK 350 million (€47 million).

Speaking in November as the company announced its financial results for the first nine months of 2012, Dong chief executive Henrik Poulsen said the first power generated from the 630MW first phase of the project, achieved in October, was several months behind schedule, at a cost to the company, which owns a 50% share of the Thames Estuary project.

"We had expected first power to occur in the late summer period, but it was a couple of months later," Poulsen said.

The delay to generation was due to bad weather affecting installation on what will be the world's largest offshore wind farm. However, with the installation of 151 of 175 Siemens 3.6MW turbines now complete, and both foundations and export cables laid, the wind farm is scheduled for full commissioning in 2013.

Poulsen's admission over the cost of the delay followed an announcement by Dong and the project's other shareholders, energy firm E.on and renewables developer Masdar, that they were scaling back plans to expand the project further.

The developers submitted a proposal to regulators at the end of October to build a further 240MW of capacity on the project, comprising between 35 and 65 turbines. This would take the wind farm's final capacity to 870MW, still substantially lower that the 1GW originally planned.

The chief reason for the scale-back is concern about the potential impacts on protected bird species the red-throated diver, which lives in the Thames Estuary.

€47 million - The cost to Dong Energy for the delay to first generation at the London Array offshore project.