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Germans buy into mega-wind farm plan

A 50 per cent stake in what will be the world’s largest offshore wind farm has been bought by German utility giant RWE.

The deal, worth £308m, was brokered between RWE and Scottish and Southern Energy for the Greater Gabbard wind farm, 15 miles off the Suffolk coast. Under the terms of the deal SSE will be the operator of the wind farm in its development and operational stages.


SSE acquired a 50 per cent stake in the project when it bought Airtricity this year. It took its stake to 100 per cent when it bought out Airtricity’s then partner, Fluor International, after the latter won the contract to build the 500-megawatt development. SSE said then that it intended to sell 50 per cent of the project, which will cost £1.3bn to develop.

Ian Marchant, chief executive of SSE, said local renewable-energy projects were increasingly important to Britain’s security of supply. “This year has been characterised by high and volatile prices for fossil fuels and by political uncertainty in key oil- and gas-producing regions.”

Greater Gabbard will have 140 turbines and the power generated will be brought ashore through three undersea cables to a substation to be built near Sizewell. SSE and npower will share equally the electricity provided. Onshore work has already begun and work on the offshore elements is expected to start next year. The partners expect development to be finished by 2011, with the first electricity available in 2010.

RWE operates a 60MW offshore wind farm at North Hoyle off the north Wales coast. It is building a 90MW wind farm offshore at Rhyl Flats to come on stream next year, and awaits the go-ahead for a 750MW installation at Gwynt y Môr.