Basking sharks and ground conditions are among the reasons for dropping the Argyll Array Offshore Windfarm proposal

for a £5.4billion offshore wind farm off the coast of Tiree in the Inner
Hebrides have been withdrawn.

detailed technical and environmental site studies, ScottishPower Renewables
(SPR) has confirmed that they will not be taking forward their lease option to
develop the Argyll Array Offshore Windfarm in the near future.

The company has
stated that the project may be viable to reconsider as offshore wind technology
develops in the longer term, but estimates that will not be within the next

Renewables has been working on the Argyll Array project since 2009, and a
variety of detailed technical and environmental studies have been completed as
part of their initial development work.

These studies have been reviewed over the last year in order to evaluate the viability of the
project and on the basis of these findings, a decision not to progress the
project, has been taken by both ScottishPower Renewables and The Crown Estate.

Basking sharks a key issue

main issues affecting the progression of the project are the ground conditions
in the site, particularly the presence of hard rock, coupled with challenging
wave conditions which could impact construction.

Beyond this, there is a
significant presence of basking sharks, which environmental groups continue to
study to get a greater understanding of their movements in the area.

Cole, head of offshore wind at ScottishPower Renewables, said: ‘We believe it
is possible to develop the Argyll Array site, it has the some of the best wind
conditions of any offshore zone in the UK.

it is our view that the Argyll Array project is not financially viable in the
short term. As cost reductions continue to filter through the offshore wind
industry, and as construction techniques and turbine technology continues to
improve, we believe that the Argyll Array could become a viable project in the
long term.

rate of progress in development of foundation and installation technology has
been slower than anticipated. The current outlook for offshore wind deployment
in the UK suggests this will not significantly improve in the short term.

supports the view that it could take 10-15 years for the required technology
improvements to be available for this project.

Crown Estate agrees with our findings and development work will cease on the
project with immediate effect. This will give ScottishPower Renewables the
opportunity to fully construct the West of Duddon Sands project with DONG
Energy, and continue development work on the East Anglia Zone with Vattenfall.’

Crown Estate

Crown Estate manages the seabed around the UK, including leasing for offshore
renewable energy projects. The organisation, which works on a commercial basis
with profits paid to the UK Government, does not regulate or give planning
consent for projects.

Quinn who leads The Crown Estate’s Scottish energy and infrastructure team
said: ‘While there is an excellent wind resource at the Argyll Array site, both
organisations agree that the project should not proceed at this point in time.

‘Developers have to take a
wide range of factors into account when preparing to apply for planning consent
– this decision by The Crown Estate and SPR follows a very thorough assessment
of all those factors.

‘We look forward to continuing to work with ScottishPower
Renewables on other sites and programmes.’