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World’s largest offshore wind farm gets go-ahead

Wind farm off Kent coast will power 750,000 homes

A racing wind turbine.

Power giant Eon has announced that the first phase of a project to build the largest wind farm of its kind in the world will start later this year and could be generating power in time for the 2012 Olympics.

The London Array project’s future had looked uncertain, but the ongoing commitment to renewable energy announced in the recent budget led to yesterday’s announcement.

Green light for renewable energy

Eon and its partners Dong Energy and Masdar said they will invest 2.2bn euros (£1.98bn) in building the first 630 megawatt phase of wind farm in the Thames Estuary, 12 miles off the Kent coast.

Once complete, the wind farm will consist of 341 turbines and will be the first 1 gigawatt offshore wind farm in the world, supplying enough power for around 750,000 homes – a quarter of all those in Greater London – and displace the emission of 1.9 million tonnes of CO2 every year.

Onshore work will commence this summer, with offshore work on the 90 square mile site due to begin in early 2011.

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Low carbon future

Eon chief executive Dr Wulf Bernotat said: ‘I’m delighted that work can now get under way on the world’s largest offshore wind farm.

‘[The] announcement is proof that, if all interested parties work together, renewable power can be taken to its next level and so make a real difference to the fight against climate change.’

Prime Minister Gordon Brown said: ‘The London Array is a flagship project in our drive to cut emissions by 80% by 2050 and meet future energy needs. The UK is a world leader in offshore wind farms, creating jobs and prosperity for the economy.

‘That’s why we have increased our support for this technology as we move towards a low carbon future.’

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