Another boost for UK wind power industry as RWE secures partners

RWE has announced that it has found partnerships which will enable them to progress with the £1.5bn Galloper offshore wind power project off Suffolk in England.

Its another positive news story for the country’s offshore wind power sector just one day after Dong Energy announced its plan for a 660 MW facility off Cumbria.

RWE said that Britain's Green Investment Bank (GIB), German engineering group Siemens and Australian bank Macquarie would join the 336 MW project, with each partner holding a 25 per cent stake.
RWE Offshore wind
"The partnerships are crucial to us. It enables us to realise our projects," Hans Buenting, chief executive of RWE's Innogy renewables unit, told Reuters.

The facility which is expected to produce power for up to 336,000 homes, will commence construction in November, with operations expected to start in March 2018.

Siemens will supply 56 of its 6 MW-class turbines and also will have a 15-year service contract, it said in a separate statement.

Buenting said that 30 per cent of the project's costs were shouldered by the four partners, with the rest being financed by banks, translating to a direct investment of about 100 million pounds for RWE.

Galloper will create 700 jobs during construction and 90 permanent roles once it is operational, RWE said, further boosting Britain's burgeoning offshore sector.

Offshore is one of the few renewable power technologies favoured by the present UK government with supports being cut for onshore and solar power generation.

RenewableUK’s Director of Policy for Economics and Regulation, Dr Gordon Edge, said “The Government’s advisory body, the Committee on Climate Change, is now recommending we install 1-2 GW of offshore wind a year throughout the 2020s to meet out carbon reduction goals, so we could reach as much as 30 GW by 2030. The CCC says offshore wind is set to become cheaper than gas during the next decade, so it offers excellent value for money in terms of keeping bills down. We’re also generating jobs, with 13,000 people already working in the industry – that could increase to 44,000 in less than 10 years."

“However, if we’re to continue to deliver ambitious offshore infrastructure projects throughout the 2020s, we need a clear plan from Government stating how much offshore wind capacity it wants over the next decade. We’ve had some encouraging signals so far, but we need details of how the financial framework is going to work for offshore wind to deliver at scale, as a key part of the Government’s industrial strategy.”

Cian Conroy, Offshore Wind Sector Lead at the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, told Power Engineering International: “In delivering the 10 GW to date, the UK has established world-leading knowledge and capability. On-going support will enable the industry to continue to flourish and deliver huge UK benefit for many decades to come in terms of jobs and export potential, not just of the electricity itself, but particularly of the technologies and engineering know-how that go with it."

“This news is testament to the industry’s continued efforts to reduce risk and drive down costs to ensure that the industry is cost comparative to other sources of low-carbon energy generation.”

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