One of the world’s largest offshore wind farm projects, being built off the Norfolk coast, has secured £1.3bn of financing.
It will fund the capital requirements of the 402-megawatt Dudgeon Offshore Wind Farm, currently under construction 32km out to sea from the North Norfolk coast of England.
The project is being co-developed by Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company Masdar, Norwegian oil & gas company Statoil and Norway’s state-owned electricity company Statkraft, and is expected to start commercial operations by the second half of 2017.
Dudgeon is the first UK offshore wind project to obtain financing under the UK government’s Contract for Difference scheme.
The financing has been arranged through a number of international banks including the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, BNP Paribas and Crédit Agricole Corporate & Investment Bank.
Statkraft and Statoil are also participating in the financing, with Statkraft will contributing a 30% share in the project and Statoil 17.5%.
Halfdan Brustad, chairman of Dudgeon Offshore Wind, said the project demonstrated the willingness of its developers to support the ongoing growth of the UK green economy.
“The project benefits the UK’s offshore wind industry. At least 70 local jobs are created directly in the operations phase; additional jobs during construction and indirectly in the supply chain,” said Brustad. “More than 50% of the construction cost is anticipated to be spent in the UK supply chain.”
Dudgeon will deliver annual production of 1.7 terawatt-hours of electricity, the combined output of 67 wind turbines. It will be enough to power an estimated 410,000 UK homes and displace 893,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.
The project is already underway with the first turbine monopile installed in April, and construction of the wind farm’s 1,000-tonne offshore substation under way.
RenewableUK said the investment showed that the UK was the go-to destination for offshore wind investors.
“Big deals like this support thousands of British jobs in every part of the country,” said RenewableUK deputy CEO Maf Smith. “Our world-leading offshore wind industry will double in capacity by 2020, driving down the cost of electricity and securing future energy supplies from British waters.”