Biggest offshore wind market could get €7.5bn bigger

Biggest offshore wind market could get €7.5bn bigger


The world’s biggest offshore wind-power market may be about to get even bigger as three companies decide whether they’ll commit €7.5 billion to raise the United Kingdom’s installed offshore capacity by more than a third.

Mainstream Renewable Power, Scottish Power and an SSE-led consortium have until the end of March to reach final investment decisions allowing them to tap into UK government subsidies letting them install more than 1.7 gigawatts (GW) of new capacity.

Offshore-Windpark Lillgrund - Serviceschiff auf dem Weg zum Windpark / Lillgrund Offshore Wind Farm - Service ship en route to the wind farmScottish Power’s East Anglia One will need €3.1bn investment, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), which also estimated that Mainstream’s Neart na Gaoithe and SSE’s Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm will cost €1.9bn and €2.5bn, respectively.

The UK has the world’s biggest offshore wind-power market with more than 5.0GW, equal to 45 per cent of installed capacity, according to the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA).

Amber-Rudd-UK-parliamentary-under-secretary-state-climate-changeBloomberg newsagency reports in November, Amber Rudd, the UK Conservative government’s Energy and Climate Change Secretary, pledged to support the growth of turbines installed at sea and predicted offshore capacity could double by 2020 and rise to 30GW by 2030.

Investments would further boost the UK’s wind industry following Dong Energy’s decision this month to move ahead with its estimated $5.7 billion Hornsea Project One, which will become the world’s biggest offshore wind farm when it’s completed in 2020.

The UK’s renewable energy industry is pinning its hopes on offshore-wind power as the only technology that has not seen subsidies cut under Prime Minister David Cameron’s government.

world-offshore-wind-farms-location-graphA spokesman for SSE confirmed a final investment decision for the 588-megawatt Beatrice wind farm is expected at the end of March.

SSE owns 40 per cent of Beatrice, alongside Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners and Repsol.

A spokesman for Scottish Power said a decision on the 749-megawatt East Anglia One wind farm is due before April.

Last month Mainstream said it is in talks with a consortium led by Intergen to reach financial close on the 450-megawatt project.

offshore-wind-turbines-VESTASQuestions hover over Mainstream’s Neart na Gaoithe project because of a legal battle with RSPB, which says that the wind turbines would kill too many sea birds if erected.

Blommberg reports a spokesman for Mainstream did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Under rules imposed by the Low Carbon Contracts Company, which operates the UK government’s subsidy program, developers have until the end of March to decide on going ahead with the projects or risk losing their contracts and being barred from entering the next round of auctions.