More than half of the first phase of the UK's offshore wind farms will be built two years late, at the earliest. Developers are also warning that the second phase of much larger projects is unlikely to go ahead without government support, threatening Tony Blair's target for producing more energy from renewable sources.
The looming crisis faced by the wind industry comes as ministers begin drafting the second Energy Review in three years. Consultation for the latest review closed on Friday. The first one favoured renewable forms of energy, primarily wind power.
The first round of 13 offshore wind farms, when completed, are supposed to generate 1,500MW of electricity, enough for a city one- and-a-half times the size of Birmingham. Three of these farms are in operation, one is under con-struction, but two - the Scar-weather Sands and Solway Firth projects off Wales - have been put on hold indefinitely because developer E.ON no longer thinks they are economically viable. Of the remaining seven projects, Centrica has now said that its Lynn and Inner Dowsing project off the Lincolnshire coast will be completed by 2008 at the earliest. …