Dong and Centrica have stopped their potentially successful Celtic Array partnership by concluding that there is no viability in the offshore wind development. The partnership have terminated their rights with the Crown Estate.
Huub den Rooijen, Head of Offshore Wind at CE, said:
“We have confirmed the developers’ assessment of the zone, which shows that challenging ground conditions make this project economically unviable with current technology.
“We understand that this will be disappointing for many but improvements and de-risking of new technologies may one day in the future make it economic to develop in some parts of the area.
“Whilst we have no plans to re-offer the zone to the market, to improve the understanding of the complex geology in this region we intend to make available the wealth of data from Celtic Array’s activity through our Marine Data Exchange in due course.”
Over the last four years DONG Energy and Centrica have conducted widespread survey work across the whole Irish Sea Zone and more detailed intrusive ground investigation.
The offshore wind sector has made steady and significant progress over the last decade and is on course to deliver 10 per cent of the UK’s electricity demand by the end of the decade, including from projects within the Irish Sea.
The area continues to benefit from substantial wind resource and by spring next year successful wind farms in the Irish Sea will comprise 2,000 MW of capacity in operation following the completion of the Gwynt y Môr and West of Duddon Sands offshore wind farms. With the extensions to the Burbo Bank and Walney offshore wind projects being awarded Government funding contracts earlier this year, there is also the opportunity for additional new capacity of 918 MW.
““We’re very disappointed that the progressing with our work to develop wind farms in the Irish Sea zone is not now happening.
“But, assessments have shown that ground conditions are such that it’s just not viable for us to proceed.”
Commenting on the announcement by Centrica and DONG Energy that they have jointly decided to cease developing wind farms in the Irish Sea Zone via their joint venture, Celtic Array Ltd, RenewableUK’s Director of Offshore Renewables, Nick Medic, said:
“Although it’s disappointing that this particular project isn’t going ahead, the reasons are understandable – conditions on the sea bed would make the project economically unviable at this stage.
“However, let’s not forget that one of the Celtic Array partners, DONG Energy, already has a healthy pipeline of 7 offshore wind farms up and running in UK waters, another 2 under construction, a further project approved and 3 others in the final stages of gaining consent.
“Overall we still have over 37 gigawatts of offshore wind capacity in the UK’s project pipeline, so we’re set to maintain our huge global lead in offshore wind, creating tens of thousands of jobs in the decades ahead to add to the 13,000 we have already.
“Offshore wind is already powering the equivalent of two and a half million British homes and that’s set to more than treble by the end of the decade, providing a secure supply of clean energy at a cost which is reducing constantly through economies of scale”.
Overall, the UK has 22 operational wind farms (3,654MW), plus 5 under construction (1,401MW), 11 consented (5,095MW) and 9 in the planning system (10,138MW). A further 15 projects are being developed but have not yet entered the planning system. (16,870MW). This gives a total of 62 offshore wind farm projects.