Shell WindEnergy Plans World's Largest Wind Farm Supplying 25% of London Homes' Electricity
The £1.5bn ($2.73 billion US dollars) London Array wind farm could see 270 wind turbines over 152 square miles in the Greater Thames Estuary.
London Array Limited won the right to lease an offshore wind farm site between the Essex and Kent coasts in December 2003 but has just applied to the government and local planning authorities for permission to develop the area.
The off-shore wind farm, which could produce up to 1,000 megawatts (one gigawatt) of renewable wind energy, would be built 12 miles off shore by 2011.
The consortium says it would not be an eyesore, because it is so far out, and says it will would mean 1.9m tonnes less carbon dioxide each year.
Jason Scagell, of E.ON UK Renewables - part of the London Array Consortium along with Shell WindEnergy and CORE Limited - said they wanted to reduce carbon emissions.
He said: "It's only through building more powerful wind farm sites such as this that we'll be able to reach the government's tough targets for renewable generation."
The development is a joint venture between energy giants Shell and E.On and an Anglo-Danish company, Core. Erik Kjaer Sorenson, director of Core, said: "This project will supply the equivalent of a quarter of London's domestic load and will surely, once and for all, bury the myth that wind energy is insignificant.
"Furthermore, it is merely the first of a number of similar-sized wind power schemes that will place the UK market at the forefront of offshore renewable energy development worldwide."
The Stateline wind farm, between the states of Washington and Oregon in the U.S., is so far the largest wind farm in the world, with a maximum capacity of 300 megawatts, said Alison Hill, a spokeswoman with the British Wind Energy Association. Germany is the country with most wind energy capacity in the world, followed by Spain, the U.S. and Denmark, Hill said.
The world's biggest offshore wind farm that's already in operation is Denmark's Nysted windfarm, which can produce 165 megawatts and is operated by Energi E2 (link currently does not work in Firefox). The next largest is another Danish project, Horns Rev.
Havgul AS, a Norwegian wind-power company, plans to build three wind parks off the coast of northwest Norway with a combined capacity of 1,410 megawatts, according to its website. The company plans to submit applications for regulatory approval by the end of this year. The project originally comprised four parks, though one was shelved earlier this year after protests from local communities.
The three Norwegian parks, if approved, are unlikely to be completed before London Array, said Morten Thomsen, a spokesman for Energi E2.