Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Ill Wind

The recent drop in oil prices is blowin' no good for the Brit's best laid plans:
The future of the world's biggest offshore wind farm has been thrown into doubt after its developers admitted that its economics are 'on a knife edge'.

Eon UK said plans for the massive London Array - a collection of up to 340 turbines off the Kent and Essex coasts - had been called into question by the falling price of gas, oil and carbon permits.

When finished, the £1.5billion farm should generate up to 1,000 megawatts of electricity, enough to meet the needs of 750,000 homes.

The farm is crucial to the Government's target of generating 40 per cent of Britain's electricity from wind, solar, tide and wave power by 2020.

However, Eon and other power companies are worried about the cost of offshore wind power. Not only are offshore turbines twice as expensive to put up as onshore ones, the costs are soaring in comparison to that of traditional fuels.

Paul Golby, chief executive of Eon - which owns a 30 per cent stake in the London Array - said the company was still committed to the project.

But he warned: 'The economics are looking pretty difficult.' Developers of the Array are expected to ask the Government for more subsidies.

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