Offshore wind

Centrica, the parent of British Gas, has received official consent to build a 250MW offshore wind farm off the Lincolnshire coast.


The project would, subject to investment approval, be capable of supplying around 170,000 British Gas customers and delivering CO2 savings of between 300,000 and 710,000 tonnes per annum.


UK government approval to build the farm 8km off the coast east of Skegness follows the submission last year of a detailed application for consent, including a full environmental statement.


If built, it would be situated next to the company’s recent offshore wind farm developments at Lynn and Inner Dowsing, currently the biggest offshore wind farm development in the world.


Centrica acquired the so-called Lincs project in 2003 from wind farm developer Renewable Energy Systems (RES), which was responsible for the initial proposal. Centrica has retained the services of RES under development services agreements.


The construction and commissioning of the 194MW Lynn and Inner Dowsing wind farms has taken Britain into the lead in world offshore wind stakes, bringing UK installed capacity to a total of 597MW.


The major construction work is now complete and 45 of the 54 3.6MW turbine generators are now commissioned and exporting power to the National Grid. This is done via six export cables that link the two wind farms to shore and the newly constructed substation in Middlemarsh, Skegness.


The work at Lynn and Inner Dowsing is continuing and it is expected that both wind farms will be fully operational around the end of the year.


Centrica is also exploring the opportunities for two further wind farms in the Greater Wash at Docking Shoal and Race Bank, totalling 1,000MW, and anticipates submitting applications for their consent in due course.


Subject to approval and construction, by the middle of the next decade these three projects, together with its existing operational wind assets, would give Centrica more than 1.6GW of generating capacity in the UK, capable of meeting the annual needs of more than 1.1m homes.