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Massive Wind Farm in UK Gets EU Bank Backing

BONN, Germany (CN) - The European Investment Bank has pledged more than $230 million to fund the world's largest off-shore wind farm, near Kent in southeast England.

Work on the Thanet wind farm began in 2008, and concluded in June of this year.

The 100 turbines on the wind farm produce up to 300 megawatts, or enough energy to power 240,000 homes per year, according to the project developer.

Thanet wind farm is the 13th in the United Kingdom and will boost total offshore wind capacity by about a third.

The European Investment Bank, the European Union's lending institution, said it was committed to expanding offshore sources of renewable energy.

Funding will go through only after the completion of environmental assessments, including studies on how Thanet will impact avian and marine life, the bank added.

The Thanet wind farm, developed by Swedish energy giant Vattenfall, will also receive almost $1.9 billion in subsidies from the UK, as part of the country's policy to boost production of renewable energy.

Although proponents touted employment benefits during development of the wind farm, four-fifths of the construction contracts reportedly went to non-UK companies. The facility employs about 20 locals.

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