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33

London Array: Shell Lets Her Majesty Down

The UK was set to be the world leader in building offshore wind farms, but Shell said it was selling its stake in what would be the world's biggest, with a 1,000 megawatt capacity

The UK was set to be the world leader in building offshore wind farms, but Shell said it was selling its stake in what would be the world’s biggest, with a 1,000 megawatt capacity.

Shell said the withdrawal was part of a review of its operations, but one of its partners in the project raised concerns about the economics of the project, given the spiraling costs of erecting offshore turbines.

Denmark’s Dong Energy A/S is the second remaining partner in the project.

Dong Energy said it was considering its options, the FT reported.

The cost of the London Array project is thought to have more than doubled since 2003, when it was estimated at 1 billion pounds, or about 1.3 billion euros.

Wind turbine manufacturers have raised their prices as commodity prices have risen, and strong demand for turbines means there is a two-year waiting list.

The UK government said the London Array was likely to go ahead without Shell’s participation.

London Array is a project for 341 turbines in the Thames Estuary, off the south-eastern coast of the UK, which would have enough generating capacity to power a quarter of London’s homes.

Shell said it would continue to invest in onshore wind projects in the US, where it is easier to gain permissions to put up turbines, the Financial Times reported.