Britain's Eclipse Energy has received consent for a unique hybrid wind and gas plant to be sited ten kilometres from Walney Island off the Cumbria coast in the east Irish Sea. The 200 MW Ormonde project comprises a 108 MW wind farm of 30 wind turbines and two small gas turbines totalling 93 MW fired by fuel from the adjacent undeveloped Ormonde North and South gas fields. The power cable will come ashore at Heysham in Lancashire. The combination of gas and wind is intended to ensure a predictable and continuous output from the project, with wind providing 59% of the production. "We have combined both North Sea oil and gas experience and business models to provide a commercial catalyst to enable us to harness the energy from offshore natural gas fields and wind power," says Ian Hatton from Eclipse. "This is a global first." Eclipse Energy is a non-quoted company with 70 shareholders, set up in 1999 to develop sustainable energy projects. "We expect Ormonde to be the first of a series of similar projects where offshore wind energy is developed using the hybrid concept," says Ormonde. First energy from the project is anticipated for 2009.
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