Forewind has scaled back by a third plans to build wind farms at Dogger Bank in Britain’s North Sea, which could nevertheless become the world’s largest wind project, it said on Friday.
Forewind — a consortium of energy companies RWE Innogy UK, SSE, Statkraft and Statoil — gave no specific reason for the decision.
It had secured licenses from Britain’s Crown Estate to build six projects at the Dogger Bank offshore zone of 1.2 gigawatts (GW) of electricity each.
The government has given consent for farms to be built at four of the sites but Forewind said on Friday it would not seek consent for the fifth and six.
“These four Dogger Bank projects are a huge commitment and will require significant resources and attention from the owner companies to progress to the next stages,” it said in a statement.
But even without the fifth and sixth sites the Dogger Bank project could become the world’s largest offshore wind project and deliver up to five percent of Britain’s energy needs, according to Forewind’s website.
It is expected that each of the four companies involved will take on an operator role on one of the sites.
However, a spokeswoman for Statkraft said the projects were only likely to go ahead if the companies could secure government backing.
As part of extensive reforms of Britain’s electricity market, the government has been changing the way it supports renewable energy by replacing direct subsidies with a contracts-for-difference (CfD) system.
Under the scheme, qualifying projects are guaranteed a minimum price at which they can sell electricity and renewable power generators bid for CfD contracts in a round of auctions.
Britain’s Energy and Climate Change Secretary Amber Rudd last month cast doubt on whether there would be another auction of CfDs after announcing existing subsidy schemes would be pared back due to a 1.5 billion pound ($2.32 billion) overspend.
(Reporting by Susanna Twidale; editing by Susan Thomas)