Robin Rigg build start in UK

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German-owned energy giant E.ON is to press ahead in the new year with building its 180 MW offshore project off the north-west coast of Britain at Robin Rigg in the Solway Firth. Sixty 3 MW turbines will be sited some nine kilometres off the Scottish coast and 12 kilometres from the coast of Cumbria in England. The project will be twice as large as the UK's biggest wind farm to date, the 90 MW at Kentish Flats in the south-east. The turbine supplier is understood to be Vestas, but E.ON stressed in late December that final contracts had not been signed. Work is to start in early 2007, with completion in 2009. The go-ahead for Robin Rigg comes after a tortuous tendering process; Vestas, which had been the preferred supplier after an earlier tendering round, pulled out at the eleventh hour, leaving E.ON to request new bids. The project will help the company meet its domestic goal of reducing the carbon intensity of its generation by 10% by 2012, says E.ON UK's chief executive Paul Golby. E.ON plans to spend £1 billion on green energy projects in the next five years. A diverse mix of power sources -- including new gas and cleaner coal stations as well as large scale renewables -- gives E.ON the best chance to keep energy "as affordable as possible for our customers," says Golby.

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