The world’s biggest offshore wind farm was revived yesterday when German-based energy group E.ON and the Danish utility Dong Energy agreed to acquire Shell’s 33% stake in the 1,000-megawatt London Array.
The two firms, which each own a one-third stake in the project will now become 50-50 partners by buying out Shell, the former third partner. Shell decided to withdraw from the London Array project back in May after a strategic review indicated that the project would not bring sufficient rates of return on the investment. Industry-wide cost inflation has raised the cost of the project to more than £2.5bn ($5 billion U.S.), well above the original estimates of £1.5bn three years ago.
The purchase came as a major relief for a British government that is lagging behind the pace it needs to keep for its renewable energy targets of 15% by 2020. The news also came on the day the biggest onshore wind farm in Europe - planned for Scotland - was given final approval.
There are currently 176 wind energy projects that would produce 2,546 megawatts currently in the planning stages across the UK - enough to supply electricity to 1.4 million British homes (British Wind Energy Association).
After much political opposition to the aesthetics of wind farms in the UK, is it safe to say there has been a significant shift in how British perceive the wind farms? Or is it out of economic rationality and political necessity that there is a push to expand the British wind energy portfolio?