World’s largest wind farm to be near London.

A UK off-shore wind farm.

Plans for two major offshore wind farms in the Thames Estuary have been given the green light by the government.
Trade and Industry Secretary Alistair Darling said one of the schemes, called London Array, would be the world’s biggest on completion in about 2011.

The wind farm will have 341 turbines over 144 sq miles (232 sq km) between Margate in Kent and Clacton, Essex.

The other project will be seven miles (11km) off North Foreland, Kent, across an area of 21 sq miles (35 sq km).

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said the £1.5bn London Array project could generate enough renewable electricity to power 750,000 households when fully operational.

It will be situated 12 miles (20km) off the Kent and Essex coasts and contain five offshore substations and four meteorological masts.

The first turbines could be erected by 2008.

The smaller project, called the Thanet scheme, would cost £450m and contain 100 turbines.

The developer, Warwick Energy, expects the project to provide enough renewable electricity for 240,000 homes.

The DTI added both projects would make a “significant contribution to the government’s aim of a five-fold increase in the UK’s renewable energy resource by 2020”.

It also said the schemes would bring economic opportunities to businesses and local communities.

Very good news. 🙂

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12 Responses to World’s largest wind farm to be near London.

  1. earthpal says:

    Yes, it is good news Matt. There is so much potential for offshore wind energy in the UK and it’s great to see our government focused on this and leading the way.

    The photo looks quite pleasing to the eye…not at all like the thundering nuclear plants.

  2. matt says:

    Yes, very pleasing to the eye. I can envisage windfarm tours by boat from the Thames Barrier post 2010! Even better still, by helecopter. 🙂

  3. Pete Smith says:

    The London Array consortium is planning one on-shore sub-station as part of their scheme. Swale District Council refused planning permission in June 2006. The consortium lodged an appeal in September.

    Mark Bilsborough, Chief Executive of Swale Borough Council, said: “I can confirm that London Array have appealed against the decision to refuse permission for the sub station for the windfarm in the Thames Estuary.

    “This is an exciting project with major benefits for the UK’s renewable energy programme and for jobs in North and East Kent. But significant local concerns need to be balanced against these advantages.

    “The Planning Committee took the view that 60 heavy lorry movements a day for five years through a small village on winding country lanes, with no pavements and a school bisected by the road was too much for a small rural community to take, particularly as there was no clear compensation proposal on offer and they would also have to suffer the permanent blot of an electricity substation on the protected natural landscape of the Saxon Shore Way.

    “If London Array can satisfy the local community in Graveney that the disruption caused by such a major infrastructure will be minimised and that the compensation package they have put together is adequate then they will have a much better chance of getting their project approved.”

    With a develoment like this where the high profile stuff is built miles offshore, it’s easy to overlook the shore-based infrastructure. The easy phrase “one on-shore substation” doesn’t accurately describe the scale of the work.
    See the London Array link for details.

  4. matt says:

    I will look at the link. I knew about the appeal re sub-station but not that the village was ‘open to negotiation’ via pots of money. Maybe a few new pavements and village hall would do it.

  5. Pete Smith says:

    “Open to negotiation”? LOL, I didn’t look at it like that. It read more like “even more miffed because we weren’t offered compensation” rather than “£££ Give us some money and we’ll back down £££”.
    Just think of it as environmental economics in action 😎

  6. matt says:

    > ‘Just think of it as environmental economics in action ‘


    Everyone has their price. The company was foolish to over look them in the first place.

  7. DominiConnor says:

    What about the birds it will kill ?

  8. matt says:

    There has also been little, if any, research on how vibrations from offshore turbines will affect wildlife underwater (e.g. seals).

  9. earthpal says:

    I believe there is an impact on marine eco-systems from off-shore wind farms but from what I can gather, it’s minimal and most of the damage is done in the construction stage. I’m not sure about the impact from vibrations but Greenpeace investigates wind-farm projects and would be the first to object if these projects were looking likely to pose a long-term threat to aquatic eco-systems.

    And yes, birds are also killed from wind-turbines but it’s worth noting that more birds perish from human-induced assaults on the envirmonment than they do from wind-farms. In fact, studies have shown that birds tend to give a wide berth to wind-turbines so they’re not killed in the great numbers that the anti-wind’ers would have us believe…certainly nowhere near the numbers killed by aviation and other human-induced activities.

  10. matt says:

    Thanks earthpal. Useful info. Couldn’t link to newscientist but found this at, your first link (for others here to read who don’t want to wade thru an article);

    ‘After dozens of studies spanning nearly two decades, we now know that the Altamont Pass situation is unusual in the U.S. The high raptor mortality there was the result of a convergence of factors, some of which were due to the bad siting in the local ecosystem while others were due to the wind turbine and tower technology used at the time. In fact, a very different situation exists not far away at the San Gorgonio Pass Wind Farms near Palm Springs. A 1986 study found that 69 million birds flew though the San Gorgonio Pass during the Spring and Fall migrations. During both migrating seasons, only 38 dead birds were found during that typical year, representing only 0.00006% of the migrating population.

    A report recently prepared for the Bonneville Power Administration in the Northwest U.S. states that “raptor mortality has been absent to very low at all newer generation wind plants studied in the U.S. This and other information regarding wind turbine design and wind plant/wind turbine siting strongly suggests that the level of raptor mortality observed at Altamont Pass is quite unique.”…’

    Siting is therefore crucial & wind turbines need not play a part in mass bird culls, as so many other man-made structures do according to the same report (tele-masts being a major problem for example).

  11. Pete Smith says:


    This may well be true for the large multi-megawatt jobs, but there is increasing concern about the potential impact of small domestic turbines on bird populations. If David Cameron wants one, I’m sure there’s a host of newly-green Tories who would like one too. Birds like swifts are already under great pressure in urban and suburban areas. I shudder to think of the bloodbath if every roof had a turbine whirring.

  12. matt says:

    Especially in yesterday’s winds. Never mind ships losing their moorings. Could see a few heads rolling!

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