Plans for the world’s biggest offshore wind farm have been thrown into doubt over fears the noise of building it will disturb porpoises. A decision on planning permission for Dong Energy’s 1.8 gigawatt Hornsea Two project, which would see up to 300 giant turbines built 55 miles off the coast of Yorkshire, had been due from the Department of Energy and Climate Change by next week. But the decision has been delayed after the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs proposed designating a vast, 14,000 square mile tranche of the North Sea – including the entire 115 square mile area of the proposed wind farm – as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) for the harbour porpoise. As a result, a Habitats Regulations Assessment must now be carried out to look at “the likely significant effects of the project, both alone and in-combination with other plans and projects” on the porpoise protection zone.
Telegraph 5th June 2016 read more »
A group of Europe’s largest energy companies has pledged to cut the cost of offshore wind farms closer to that of gas and coal power stations as governments face pressure to cut green subsidies. Germany’s two biggest power utilities, RWE and Eon, have joined Swedish rival Vattenfall and Norwegian oil and gas group Statoil to declare they can drive down costs to 80 euros per megawatt hour by 2025, close to half today’s average levels. Together with seven other companies, including turbine makers such as Germany’s Siemens and the US group General Electric, they say offshore wind farms can be “fully competitive” with new fossil fuel power stations – under the right conditions. “This commitment is only possible with a stable, long-term market for renewables in Europe,” the 11 companies say in a joint statement to EU policymakers. They warn there is a “serious question mark” over how much support governments will offer the industry after 2020, when existing EU renewable energy targets are to be replaced by less stringent goals for 2030.
FT 5th June 2016 read more »