Liberal Democrat MEP Sir Graham Watson
has today expressed his regret at the decision taken by RWE Power to pull out of the Atlantic Array project
“due to technical challenges making the project uneconomic at current time
With a planned 1.5 gigawatt capacity, it would have been one of the world's largest offshore wind farms. In January 2012, the South West was named as the UK’s first Marine Energy Park
, firmly placing the region on the international map for leadership in marine renewable energy. The South West Marine Energy Park stretches from Bristol all the way along down to Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
In a statement, Sir Graham said: "I regret the decision made by RWE made today. Particularly given the potential of utilising the Bristol Channel to power hundreds of thousands of homes with clean energy. It is also deeply regrettable that North Devon will not see the major investment and potential jobs that came attached with the Atlantic Array.”
"But I understand the reasons behind RWE power's decision, given the complexity of the terrain and the need to make the site financially viable. I hope that we will see renewable energy investment into the channel soon to help bring down energy bills and move away from fossil fuels to clean energy. I also wish to see a level playing field for the renewable energy sector similar to that of other sources of energy.
Paul Cowling, the Director of Offshore Wind at RWE Innogy, said
: “This is not a decision we have taken lightly, however given the technological challenges and market conditions, now is not the right time for RWE to continue to progress with this project […] we are very grateful for the support we have received from the many interested parties involved in helping us to develop the Atlantic Array project, however the commercial reality means that in the current market conditions, overcoming the technical challenges within The Bristol Channel Zone would be uneconomic for RWE at this time.
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