The 1000 MW offshore London Array project is back on track after losing Shell as one of its three lead sponsors. The two remaining partners, European energy giant E.ON and Danish energy company Dong, have bought out Shell's stake for an undisclosed sum. They are now 50:50 partners in the world's largest offshore project, which is expected to provide enough power to meet the needs of 25% of the homes in Greater London. The project faltered in April when Shell said it would dispose of its shareholding to concentrate on new wind projects in the United States. Shell staff will work on London Array until the end of the year to enable a smooth handover. The decision by the boards of E.ON and Dong to buy out Shell's share allows the development team to proceed with the procurement process for the major contracts, including the wind turbines, with the aim of completing the first phase on schedule by the end of 2012. Dong, however, says it has made no investment decisions with regard to London Array; the company declines to comment further. The managing director of E.ON's renewables division, Mike Lewis, says the economics of the project remain challenging but it will give the company experience to move forward to the next generation of larger projects built further offshore. E.ON's UK offshore interests include the operational 60 MW Scroby Sands wind farm, a 180 MW project under construction at Robin Rigg in the Solway Firth, and the 300 MW Humber Gateway wind farm awaiting consent. Dong's UK offshore assets include the 90 MW operating Burbo Bank wind farm, 50% of the 90 MW Barrow wind farm, like Burbo Bank also in operation off the north-west coast of England, and 173 MW under construction at Gunfleet Sands off the east coast. Larger projects in the pipeline are 600 MW at Walney, 151 MW of which has board investment approval, and 240 MW at Westernmost Rough.
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Senior Renewable Energy Analyst (WindGEMINI Product Lead) DNV GL Bristol (City Centre), City of Bristol