Hundreds of Britain's offshore wind turbines could be sinking into the sea because of a design flaw
It is believed the concrete used to fix some turbines to their steel foundation can wear away, causing the power generators to drop a few inches.
The fault was first discovered at the Egmond aan Zee wind farm in the Netherlands and affects those with single cylinder foundations.
Energy company engineers are now urgently investigating what extent the turbines have been destabilised. If repairs are necessary then turbines will be shut down one at a time to prevent energy losses.
Experts from Renewables UK, which represents wind farm developers, said it could cost £50million to fix Britain's 336 turbines thought to be at risk.
Peter Madigan from Renewables UK, told The Times: 'A fault has been identified and has been shared with the industry, which has moved to see if there is a larger problem.'
Dong Energy said three of its wind farms were affected, including Gunfleet Sands off the Essex coast and Burbo Bank in Liverpool Bay. However Centrica, which owns British Gas and Dong Energy, said there were no safety or operational issues.
Offshore farms produce more reliable power because the wind is less intermittent, and they allow firms to avoid getting entangled in the UK's labyrinthine planning regulations. But they are notoriously expensive, and large firms including BP and Royal Dutch Shell have pulled out of the sector.
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