The world’s largest offshore wind farm, the London Array, will begin construction this northern summer after the British government doubled its incentives for offshore wind energy.

The project had been in doubt after Royal Dutch Shell pulled out of the scheme last year because of rising costs, leaving Denmark’s DONG Energy with a 50 percent stake and Germany’s E.ON with 30 percent. Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy fund, Masdar, has taken the remaining 20 percent. The project partners have now announced that they will invest 2.2 billion euros ($au4 billion) in building the first phase of the project.

The London Array wind farm will be built on a 230 square kilometre area, 19 kilometres off the coasts of Kent and Essex. The first phase will consist of 175 turbines built by Siemens AG to be completed in time to power the London Olympics in 2012. The second phase will take the farm to 1,000 megawatts – enough power for 750,000 homes.

DONG’s CEO, Anders Eldrup, said "The decision to build the London Array offshore wind farm is a cornerstone in DONG Energy’s strategy to increase the proportion of electricity generated from renewable energy sources. DONG Energy has built approximately half of all offshore wind farms in operation in the world today."