Page last updated at 17:16 GMT, Thursday, 3 December 2009

Offshore wind farm plan scrapped

Artist's impression of the turbines at Scarweather Sands
An artist's impression of the turbines at Scarweather Sands

Plans for a £100m wind farm in the Bristol Channel have been scrapped, say the developers.

Work on 30 turbines at Scarweather Sands off Porthcawl had already been postponed in 2006 and had been expected to start this year.

But the two companies behind the project, DONG Energy and E.ON, said it was no longer commercially viable.

South Wales West Conservative AM Alun Cairns said many local people had been against the development.

The £100m scheme was postponed for two years in 2006, when the developers said it was not financially viable.

The work had then been earmarked to start in 2008-09.

Approval had granted in 2004 for the turbines at a height of 130.5m (428ft) above the level of high water.

But DONG Energy and E.ON said the challenging seabed conditions, the relatively poor wind speeds and a restriction on turbine height, means Scarweather, with just 30 turbines, was no longer commercially viable.

Put simply it has become clear that Scarweather Sands is not the best place to build a small scale offshore wind farm
Dave Rogers of E.ON

It had been hoped that the wind turbines would have been able to generate 100 megawatts (MW) of renewable power - enough to meet the electricity needs of around 82,000 homes.

But there has been opposition from some residents of Porthcawl and other groups over its visual impact.

Dave Rogers of E.ON said: "This is not a decision that we've taken lightly, a lot of work has gone into trying to make the project work but, sadly, we've had to recognise that we can't go ahead.

"Put simply it has become clear that Scarweather Sands is not the best place to build a small scale offshore wind farm.

"We've learnt a lot from this development which has helped us in successfully delivering other larger projects and rather than carry on for the wrong reasons, we've decided not to build the wind farm."

Christina Grumstrup Sørensen, vice-president of DONG Energy Renewables, said there were "too many downsides" to make Scarweather Sands "commercially viable".

She added: "We have, however, not lost confidence in the further development of the UK offshore market, and we are committed to proceeding with our other UK wind projects."

Mr Cairns said: "This represents a victory for the people of Porthcawl who were largely opposed to the windfarm.

"There were always doubts about its viability and I am delighted for the hard core of opponents who never gave up the fight even after planning consent was granted."

The land was leased for the project by The Crown Estate in 2003, and Assembly Members approved the plans in July 2004.

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