RWE axes huge UK offshore wind farm citing investor uncertainty.

Guardian: “Britain’s green ambitions have been dealt a blow as a big six energy company has pulled the plug on one of the world’s largest offshore windfarms, with the political storm enveloping the industry threatening the multibillion-pound investments needed to meet emissions targets and head off a looming capacity crunch.” “Weeks after warning that the government was treating environmental subsidies as a “political football”, the German-owned RWE npower is pulling out of the £4bn Atlantic Array project in the Bristol Channel because the economics do not stack up.
The move comes as figures show that energy firms reaped a 77% increase in profits per customer last year, due to bill increases that the big six say are partly due to government green levies.
The shelving of the Atlantic Array is a setback for the government, which is banking on bigger windfarms in deeper waters to help provide low-carbon power. The RWE cancellation is the first axing of a Round 3 windfarm – schemes such as those in Dogger Bank, Hornsea and East Anglia, which are supposed to help the government meet a target of generating 15% of energy from renewable sources by 2020. It will also raise further concerns about investors being frightened away by political rows and policy uncertainty.
….Last week David Cameron was reported to have talked about the need to get rid of “green crap” from energy bills. Number 10 said it did not recognise the phrase but did not deny the sentiment.
….The political and public environment for power companies is set to become more hostile following the publication of figures on Monday showing that the average profit per customer for the big six rose from £30 to £53 last year. The industry watchdog said the rise was due to higher bills and increased energy use during a harsh winter, not due to cost reduction.
….The Crown Estate, which has control over most of the seabed around the UK, has just given the go-ahead to Statoil to experiment with a floating windfarm off the coast of Scotland. The Hywind scheme is seen as important because it could help reduce costs offshore.
Renewable energy companies have promised to try to reduce offshore wind costs by 30% through a raft of measures as government ministers are under pressure to reduce public subsidies.
….The Department of Energy and Climate Change said: The decision not to proceed with the development is a matter for RWE. It was made on purely technical grounds and reflects the many complex challenges of constructing offshore windfarms.
“The UK still expects to deploy significant amounts of offshore wind by 2020 and we remain well placed to meet our 2020 renewable energy target.”