Two more consent applications have been lodged for wind farms under the UK's second round of large offshore wind development. Both are in the east Irish Sea off the coast of Cumbria. Danish Oil and Natural Gas (DONG) has applied to build its 450-600 MW Walney project 14 kilometres west of Walney Island. The project could cover around 73 square kilometres of seabed. DONG says that if it gets the go-ahead from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) it could begin to build the first 160 MW phase of the project in 2008. The second phase would have to await reinforcement of the onshore grid in north-west England and is not expected to be built until 2012. Two cables would bring the power ashore at Heysham and Cleveleys -- both on the Lancashire coast. Immediately to the south of DONG's project is where ScottishPower, Danish utility Elsam and Japanese wind project developer Eurus Energy hope to build their West Duddon wind farm. The joint venture companies, known as Morecambe Wind, have applied to the DTI to install 500 MW of wind capacity on the site, 14 kilometres south-west of Barrow. Local firms are concerned that too much business associated with the offshore developments will go overseas. Furness Enterprise points out that so far DONG's nearby 30 turbine Barrow Offshore Wind farm has brought only modest amounts of contracts and jobs to the Barrow area. Vessels involved in the construction work mostly ignored the nearby port of Barrow, using Belfast 100 miles away across the Irish Sea. The latest consent applications bring the number of projects in planning under the government's second round of offshore wind farm permitting to six. Combined they amount to 3650 MW of wind power capacity -- nearly three times Britain's installed wind capacity today.
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Senior Renewable Energy Analyst (WindGEMINI Product Lead) DNV GL Bristol (City Centre), City of Bristol