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World’s largest offshore wind farm gets UK government go-ahead

The UK government has approved the construction of the world’s largest offshore wind farm, a development of 300 190m-tall turbines covering an area of 480 square kilometres with an output of 1.8GW.

The scheme, to be called Hornsea Project Two, will be developed by SMartWind, a subsidiary of Denmark’s Dong Energy, and will be located about 55 miles off the coast of Lincolnshire.

Brent Cheshire, the chair of Dong’s UK business, said: "Development consent for Hornsea Project Two is very welcome. We have already invested £6bn ($8bn) in the UK, and Hornsea provides us with another exciting opportunity."

The UK’s industry has grown at an extraordinary rate over the past few years, and is a fundamental part of our plans to build a clean, affordable, secure energy system– Greg Clark, UK business and energy secretary

He added that he scheme could provide enough energy to power 1.6 million homes.

However, Dong added that it had not made a final investment decision on this scheme, and that it may take up to two years to approve it.

Greg Clark, the business and energy secretary, said: "The UK’s industry has grown at an extraordinary rate over the past few years, and is a fundamental part of our plans to build a clean, affordable, secure energy system."

The UK government is making £730m ($950m) of financial support available for renewable electricity up to 2020, by which time it expects to have an installed base of 10GW of offshore wind installed by the end of the decade.

The Hornsea decision was due to be announced two months ago but was delayed over concerns about its environmental impact.

Particular attention was given to the effect of noise on porpoises, and the impact of the turbine blades on seabirds.

Three Scottish offshore wind schemes worth a total of $14bn were halted earlier this month when the Court of Sessions rules that they were a danger to seabird colonies.

Image: Dong Energy’s giant Siemens turbines in action (Dong)

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