Green light for Gabbard

Greater Gabbard Offshore Winds today received planning permission for the construction of an offshore wind farm to be located 25km off the coast of Suffolk in the Outer Thames Estuary.


Greater Gabbard Offshore Winds Limited (GGOWL) today received planning permission for the construction of an offshore wind farm to be located 25km off the coast of Suffolk in the Outer Thames Estuary.



In addition, GGOWL – an Airtricity and Fluor joint venture – recently received permission to connect the wind farm to the electricity grid via a substation at Sizewell from Suffolk Coastal District Council.



The planned wind farm will produce 500MW of electricity via 140 wind turbines sited around the Inner Gabbard and The Galloper sandbanks. It will be the first UK offshore wind farm to be built outside territorial waters and will provide electricity for more than 415,000 homes.



The east coast of England is a key area for offshore wind projects with approximately 6.5GW of capacity currently planned out of a total of 10GW for the whole of the UK. According to GGOWL, the Greater Gabbard offshore wind farm project will make a significant contribution to reducing CO2 emission by almost 1.5 million tonnes annually, which is said to be the equivalent of removing 350,000 cars from the road every year.



Receipt of planning consent allows the joint venture to progress the project design and to structure the project financing arrangements as well as the power purchase agreements that are required to allow the project to achieve financial close which is scheduled for second half of 2007.



GGOWL is already focusing on pre-construction activities: Fluor has been appointed as Engineering, Procurement and Construction contractor. The procurement process for turbines and other equipment has commenced, with offshore construction planned to commence in 2009.?


‘When the wind blows, free generation replaces generation that costs,’ commented Eddie O’Connor, Airtricity CEO. ‘ Wind reduces risk because the cost of the power offered will be fixed in price and offers price benefits for the consumer. Such large-scale offshore wind provides consistent power and will push down the prices for fossil fuels. This price decrease is caused by the diminishment in demand for fossil fuels, something we’ve seen frequently in Northern Europe. Greater Gabbard will save money as well as contributing to the amount of electricity generated from emissions free sources.’