RWE scales down £3.6bn UK wind project

The Triton Knoll farm will now have a capacity of between 600MW and 900MW, down from its original target of 1.2GW.

RWE Innogy has trimmed planned capacity at Triton Knoll wind farm, one of the UK’s largest renewables projects.

The renewable arm of German utility RWE is reducing the proposed £3.6 billion (€4.4 billion; $5.9 billion) power plant from 1,200 megawatts (MW) to between 600MW and 900MW, equivalent to the consumption of between 550,000 and 800,000 average UK households annually.

Comments issued by RWE on Monday suggest this week’s revision came after realisations that the project in its original shape did not make enough economic sense.

“The recent optimisation work is part of a project review to make the site more competitive and more economic in line with government proposals to bring down the cost of offshore wind,” RWE project manager Jacob Hain said in a statement.

RWE was granted planning permission for Triton Knoll this summer, when it was slated to become the largest offshore wind farm in the world. The project also involves state-owned Swedish utility Vattenfall, which last July earmarked £400 million for its development.

RWE said the revision would ensure that the efficiency and utilisation of the site is optimised, thereby reducing the cost of power generated by the facility. The developer has already invested £18 million in the project.

The downsizing is the latest of a series of investment cuts and cancellations suffered by the UK offshore wind industry. Last November, RWE scrapped plans to build a plant of equal size in the Bristol Channel – the £4 billion Atlantic Array wind farm – saying the project’s economics no longer added up. UK utility Scottish Power took a similar decision a few weeks later when it announced the cancellation of the 1,800MW Argyll Array farm in the Inner Hebrides on technical and environmental grounds.

UK-based Centrica also cancelled offshore projects recently, selling one of them to Denmark's DONG Energy.