Dong Energy is to go ahead with building the Walney II offshore wind farm in the Irish Sea following the UK government’s increase in funding of green-energy projects, which chancellor Alistair Darling announced in the budget on 23 April.
Electricity-supply companies currently receive 1.5 Renewables Obligation Certificates (ROCs) for every megawatt hour (MWh) of energy that they buy from offshore wind farms, which they can then sell on. Under the chancellor’s plans, this will rise to two ROCs for the financial year 2009-10 and fall back to 1.75 ROCS in 2010-11.
Dong Energy confirmed that the British government’s announcement to increase offshore support to two ROCs provided the impetus for it to commence construction of the wave farm.
Walney II will be located close to the company’s Walney I offshore wind farm, for which planning has already been completed. Both will be located in the Irish Sea, 15km off the north-west coast of England.
Combined, the wind farms will have a total capacity of 367MW and will consist of 102 turbines. The planned completion date for Walney I is at the beginning of 2011, while Walney II is expected to be completed in 2012.
The total volume of power produced will be the equivalent of the annual consumption of about 250,000 households.
‘With the two ROCs, we can now begin the construction of Walney I and II,’ said Anders Eldrup, chief executive officer of Dong Energy.
As for the London Array project, Dong said that the project’s partners will now conclude a review process before making an announcement on any final investment decision.
The turbines that are to be used in the Walney projects are part of a supply contract concluded between Dong Energy and Siemens Wind Power in March 2009. The agreement between the two will see Siemens supply up to 500 turbines for Dong Energy’s planned offshore wind farm projects; Walney will use up the first 102 turbines detailed in the contract.
The Budget yesterday also featured the announcement of £405m in funding for other low-carbon energy technologies, including wave and tidal devices. The funding will come via existing programmes – such as the Environmental Transformation Fund – to assist manufacturers in taking their projects from prototypes to a commercial stage.
The chancellor also announced that energy produced by combined heat and power stations will be exempt from the Climate Change Levy (a surcharge on power produced from fossil fuels) until 2023, which gives producers an incentive to build more of the plants.