E.ON UK is forcing a confrontation with the British Ministry of Defence (MoD) with its latest application for consent to build an offshore wind farm in the North Sea, eight kilometres from the Yorkshire coast. The MoD is concerned that the 83 turbines making up E.ON's 300 MW Humber Gateway project will interfere with its ability to track aircraft on its radar screens. E.ON's irritation with the defence ministry is apparent as it points out that the MoD did not raise an objection when it was initially consulted in 2004. An objection by the MoD can spell the kiss of death for a wind project; hundreds of megawatts of potential wind capacity across Britain is blocked due to radar concerns. Too often the objection -- lodged by the overstretched and under-resourced Defence Estates section -- comes at the eleventh hour. The Humber Gateway application is likely to test the government's resolve to deliver on its goal of 33 GW of offshore wind in the UK by 2020. E.ON's Paul Golby says the company is confident a way forward can be found through discussions with the MoD and government.
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Senior Renewable Energy Analyst (WindGEMINI Product Lead) DNV GL Bristol (City Centre), City of Bristol