Council Leader, Councillor Ieuan Williams, has expressed disappointment that plans to develop a large scale wind farm off the Anglesey coast will no longer go ahead.
The proposed 2.2GW Rhiannon Wind Farm, developed by Celtic Array Ltd. (a joint venture ownership of DONG Energy and Centrica), would have been located some 12 miles off the Anglesey coast. It would have powered around 1.5 million homes with low carbon electricity.
The Crown Estate has today (31 July 2014) announced that it has agreed to Celtic Array Ltd.’s request to end its offshore wind zone agreement for the Round 3 Irish Sea Zone. This will allow developers, DONG Energy and Centrica, to cease development activity and terminating their seabed rights.
The decision follows recent assessments of the Zone showed that challenging ground conditions would make the project economically unviable with today’s technology.
Cllr Ieuan Williams said, “It’s hugely disappointing, especially as Celtic Array only recently carried out their second stage consultation for the offshore developments and were also actively pursuing onshore connections on Anglesey for the Rhiannon wind farm.”
“We’d hoped that the Rhiannon Wind Farm operational base could have been located in the Port of Holyhead, given its potential for assembly, operations and maintenance of off shore wind farms. This could have brought jobs and economic benefits to the Island.”
Williams added, “I would still urge the Crown Estate to continue with its technical feasibility study utilising the information already gathered by Celtic Array. Technology can change at a pace and there remains potential for future development in the zone. The County Council remains committed to supporting any parties interested in taking this project forward.”
Anglesey Energy Island Programme Director, John Idris Jones, added, “It goes without saying that this decision is hugely disappointing. This is the nature of the energy sector, however, and highlights the risk involved on the journey from concept to development and generation. Although the decision was out of the County Council’s hands, we will continue to work with developers through the Energy Island Programme to reduce the risks involved in potential developments.”
The Crown Estate also recently designated an area off the Anglesey coast as a demonstration zone for tidal marine technology. The West Anglesey Demonstration Zone is managed by Menter Môn, under the auspices of the newly formed Morlais Marine Energy.
John Idris Jones added, “We would now hope to see the Crown Estate putting more resources into attracting development and investment into marine generation technology.”
Press Release, July 31, 2014