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Gulf state rescues £3bn wind farm in the Thames Estuary

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The Government of Abu Dhabi has stepped in to help to fund the world’s biggest offshore wind farm in the Thames Estuary after the withdrawal of Royal Dutch Shell from the project.

Masdar, a $15 billion (£9 billion) clean-energy investment fund controlled by the Gulf state, said yesterday that it would buy a 20 per cent stake in the London Array project from E.ON, the German energy giant.

The scheme to build up to 271 wind turbines 12 miles off the Kent and Essex coasts is expected to cost £3 billion. Once complete, it will generate up to 1,000 megawatts of electricity – enough to power 750,000 homes.

The Government said last year that it planned to generate 33 gigawatts of electricity from offshore wind power by 2020, an initiative that would require 7,000 turbines and be sufficient to power all of Britain’s homes.

The announcement was welcomed by environmental groups and by Gordon Brown. He said: “This is an excellent example of the partnership that we need between oil-producing and consuming countries to develop new energy sources and technologies, diversifying their economies and reducing our dependence on carbon.”

The Danish energy group Dong controls a 50 per cent stake in London Array while E.ON now retains a 30 per cent share.

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