The world's largest offshore wind-energy firm took a major step forward with the announcement that Masdar and two partners have awarded 1 billion (Dh5.38bn) of contracts to complete construction by the end of 2012. The London Array, in the estuary of the Thames, will have capacity to generate 630 megawatts of electricity for Britain, and represents the first major foray into a wind power project by Masdar, the Abu Dhabi Government's clean energy company.
Masdar owns a 20 per cent equity stake; DONG Energy, a Danish firm, 50 per cent; and E.ON of Germany 30 per cent. The partners will build a field of 175 wind turbines over an area of 100 square km of shallow seas and linked to shore by undersea cables. Each giant turbine, set at a height of 87 metres above the ocean surface, will generate 3.6mw. Offshore wind as a renewable energy sector was hit hard by the financial crisis, with bankers retreating from projects they considered more risky than onshore ones.
But experts agree such plants will play an increasingly important role in Europe's energy mix, as utilities run short of easily available land. The award of the contracts was a watershed moment in the emergence of offshore wind farms as a viable energy source, said Sultan al Jaber, the chief executive of Masdar. "The London Array is a landmark project not only for the UK energy sector but for the global renewable energy industry," Mr al Jaber said yesterday.
The consortium awarded contracts to five firms to build foundations, poles, cables and substations, as well as installing the turbines. Siemens, the German electrical firm, was awarded the 1bn contract for the turbines in May, as part of a larger deal for 500 turbines for DONG. @Email:firstname.lastname@example.org