United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Powergen shelves Dorset offshore project to help Olympics bid

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Major UK utility Powergen is to shelve plans for an offshore wind farm in Portland Harbour, Dorset, on England's south coast. The company reached its decision after it became clear that the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) required a strategic environmental assessment (SEA) of the site before it could consider any application for a building permit. Powergen's Jonathan Smith says the company had not thought an SEA would be needed since the site is owned by the Port Authority -- not the Crown Estate, as is the case with most other offshore sites. The DTI is already pressed to complete SEAs for the three strategic areas identified for Britain's second round of offshore wind farm development (Windpower Monthly, January 2004). An SEA for Portland Harbour, which is not in one of the strategic areas, is low down its list of priorities. From Powergen Renewables Jason Scagell says: "While the data we've been getting has been very good -- and we still believe that the harbour would be a viable site for a wind farm -- we need to ensure our proposals are in line with government thinking on offshore wind farm policy. We're certainly not abandoning the project, and will continue with key monitoring programs in specific areas." Putting the project on ice side-steps issues raised by the yachting community over the impact of the project on the UK's bid to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to hold the 2012 Olympic games, adds Scagell. "This decision has the added bonus of putting things on hold until after the IOC takes a decision next year on the location for the 2012 games," he says.

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