United Kingdom

United Kingdom

UK prime minister Cameron inaugurates London Array

UK: London Array 1, the world's biggest offshore wind farm at 630MW was officially inaugurated by UK prime minister David Cameron.

The project uses Siemens 3.6MW turbines and was developed by Dong Energy, Masdar and E.on. It is located in the Thames Estuary between the Kent and Essex coasts in south-east England. 

Speaking at the launch event, Cameron said: "This is a great day for Kent and a great day for Britain. London Array has been built by some of the bravest seamen, the most talented engineers and hardest workers. It will bring benefits to Kent for years to come." 

Work started on the project in 2010. However there have been some issues along the way. At the end of 2012, Dong CEO Henrik Poulsen said the first power generated from the 630MW first phase of the project, achieved in October, was several months behind schedule, at a cost to the Danish utility, which owns a 50% share of the Thames Estuary project. This was due to bad weather affecting the installation. 

In January 2012, shallow water forced a delay to the project. While in 2011, the project was thrown into doubt when it was discovered the area was populated by red-throated divers, a rare seabird. 

Speaking about the project launch, Siemens president Peter Loescher said: "London Array is the world's largest offshore wind plant and marks a milestone in the development of offshore wind power. This project underscores the leading position of Siemens in this market."

Maria McCaffery, CEO of tradebody RenewableUK, said: "The prime minister’s ringing endorsement of Britain’s offshore wind industry is a real boost for the entire renewable energy sector, which is a key growth area for the British economy. London Array is a magnificent feat of green engineering in a field in which Britain is the global leader, as we have more offshore wind capacity installed than the rest of the world put together."

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