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11 May 2010

RWE, Dong Win Extra Offshore U.K. Wind Farm Permits

By Alex Morales

May 11 (Bloomberg) -- RWE AG, Vattenfall AB and Dong Energy A/S won extra permits to develop offshore wind farms totalling 2 gigawatts of capacity, enough to power 1.4 million U.K. homes.

Centrica Plc, Scottish & Southern Energy Plc and Warwick Energy Ltd. also won extensions to existing offshore wind projects, the Crown Estate said today in an e-mailed statement. The estate administers 55 percent of the U.K. coastline and most of the surrounding seabed on behalf of the monarchy.

The U.K. in 2008 overtook Denmark to become the leading nation in installed offshore wind power, and last month reached 1 gigawatt of generating capacity. The three main political parties vying for power following last week’s general election have all said they plan to promote the industry as the U.K. strives to attain 15 percent of energy from renewables by 2015.

“This 2 gigawatts has been driven by developers’ appetite,” Rob Hastings, director of the Crown Estate’s marine estate, said in the statement. “It is another positive step in the maturing of the offshore wind industry.”

The added capacity will bring to about 10 gigawatts the capacity of projects awarded in the first two offshore wind licensing rounds held by the Crown Estate. In the third round in January, the body awarded permits for 32,200 megawatts more of wind power.

Dong can now build 984 megawatts more of turbines at its Burbo Bank and Walney sites, which have both been extended in size. Vattenfall’s Kentish Flats and Thanet sites were also expanded as the Swedish company won permits for an extra 198 megawatts of capacity. A joint SSE and RWE project was granted more space as well as an additional 504 megawatts of capacity.

Centrica and Warwick were given permission to build further wind turbines within existing sites. Centrica can build 80 megawatts more at Race Bank while Warwick was given permission to add 260 megawatts at Dudgeon