Scotland, U.K. increases investment into offshore wind

ScottishPower Renewables and DONG Energy install 109th turbine in offshore wind farm and Edinburgh bank creates £1 billion fund for offshore wind investment.

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The West of Duddon Sands offshore wind farm, a 50/50 joint venture between DONG Energy (Fredericia, Denmark) and ScottishPower Renewables (Glasgow, Scotland, U.K.), is celebrating the successful installation of the final 109th turbine at the 389 MW project.

Charlie Jordan, ScottishPower Renewables Project Director, said: “It is a fantastic achievement to complete turbine installation on West of Duddon Sands. We faced some very challenging conditions, including one of the stormiest winters in recent history, but managed to continue working on schedule. Over 1,000 people have been employed on this project, and everyone has worked incredibly hard to help us reach this milestone. We look forward to fully completing the project by the end of the year.”

Commissioning work is well underway and is expected to be finished by the end of the year. Offshore foundation and turbine installation was carried out by two of the world’s most advanced installation vessels working in tandem: Swire Blue Ocean’s Pacific Orca and the Sea Installer – owned by A2SEA. Siemens (Hamburg, Germany) are supplying and commissioning the 3.6MW turbines.

Meanwhile, the U.K. government's Green Investment Bank (GIB, Edinburgh, Scotland, U.K.) has announced plans to launch a £1 billion fund to acquire equity stakes in operational offshore wind projects in the U.K. GIB is seeking a suitable group of strategic, long-term co-investors to participate in this innovative capital raising exercise. The Fund will be managed by a GIB subsidiary which is currently regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and will be seeking permission from the FCA to become a regulated fund manager.

This is an important development for the U.K.’s offshore wind sector. With 3.6 GW of installed capacity, 1.4 GW in construction and a number of further projects in the pipeline, the U.K. sector is set to grow significantly in the coming years. To support that growth, it is vital that developers – typically large utilities – are able to refinance part of their investments in operating assets to reinvest in new developments. This requires a significant broadening of the number of long-term investors in U.K. offshore wind projects.