United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Two UK project approvals in the Irish Sea

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The UK government has given the go ahead to two further offshore wind farms in the Irish Sea off north-west England. The 500 MW West of Duddon Sands facility will be Britain's third largest wind farm so far and is the seventh to receive consent under the UK's second round of offshore development. The developer, Morecambe Wind, is a joint venture between Iberdrola subsidiary ScottishPower, Dong Energy of Denmark and Eurus Energy of Japan, a long time investor in European wind power. Up to 139 turbines and two offshore substations will be built 14 kilometres off the coast of Barrow in Furness, Cumbria. Also approved is an updated application from Eclipse Energy to enlarge its Ormonde wind farm to 150 MW. The latest approval for the project, off Walney Island, Cumbria, replaces a previous consent in 2007 for 108 MW. The 30 turbines are to form part of the world's first offshore hybrid wind and gas generating station. During periods of light wind, three gas turbines on an adjacent platform will generate up to 90 MW of power fuelled by two small gas fields nearby. Ian Hatton from Eclipse says the project will be the UK's first commercial wind farm of 5 MW turbines. "In terms of generation capacity and project footprint, Ormonde will be the most efficient wind development on the planet," he says. Eclipse is set to be acquired by Swedish utility Vattenfall, which is offering to buy the company's entire share capital for £51.5 million. "Vattenfall's view is that the UK is a suitable target market for its future renewables growth for a variety of reasons, including a well functioning support system, a deregulated and competitive market for electricity and an openness to foreign investment," says Vattenfall CEO Lars G Josefsson. Eclipse's directors are recommending its shareholders accept the offer.

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