The 240MW expansion of the London Array offshore wind farm is now one step closer to reality. The developers just submitted the application to start building the second phase of the project. Once completed, the extension will increase the wind farm’s overall capacity to 870 MW.
When the initial planning approval for the expansion was granted in 2006, it was decided that the second phase couldn’t continue until satisfactory evidence was provided that the legally protected Red Throated Divers population in the Outer Thames Estuary wouldn’t be negatively affected by the construction.
“Richard Rigg, project director at London Array, said developers Dong Energy, E.ON, and Masdar have been working with the RSPB and Natural England to collect and analyse the bird population for the last six years.”
And now, after all the research, they have decided that the expansion could go forward without negatively affecting the birds. So, they have submitted their proposal to the Department of Energy Climate Change (DECC) and the Marine Management Organisation (MMO).
“The proposal for Phase 2 is based on the results of these monitoring and modelling studies,” said Rigg. “London Array believes the proposed scheme, which uses only part of the area available for Phase 2, can maintain the integrity of the Special Protected Area in which the wind farm sits and will not adversely affect the population of Red Throated Divers.”
The Phase 2 expansion is designed to cover over 40 square kilometers and will be capable of producing enough electricity to meet the annual energy needs of over 180,000 homes. Depending on the size of the turbines that are installed, between 36 and 65 turbines may be installed.
“London Array refused to speculate on when the wind farm would be fully operational, although it is widely assumed that if consent is granted the project should be up and running by the end of the decade and capable of powering 650,000 homes in total.”
The first phase of the project is expected to be completed towards the end of the year.
Image Credits: RPS Group