Major offshore wind operator plans £6bn UK investment by 2020
Posted on: 07/01/2016

Dong Energy, the largest offshore windfarm operator in Britain, have announced that they plan to spend a further £6bn in the UK by 2020.

Dong Energy has spent £6bn so far developing windfarms in Britain, and wants to double this amount in the next four years. This would mean pressing ahead with projects such as the giant Hornsea scheme off Yorkshire; once completed, the scheme will become the world’s first gigawatt-scale windfarm, 80 miles offshore. Hornsea’s 240 turbines are scheduled to start generating electricity by 2020 to power 800,000 homes.

Despite Amber Rudd coming under fire for cutting subsidies to solar and other low-carbon sectors after signing up to the Paris climate change accord, the Danish-based firm believes the UK government is serious about supporting wind power and will back related projects.

Brent Cheshire, Dong’s UK division chairman, said he had concerns originally about government policies as little as two months ago, but had since been reassured by recent firm commitments to offshore wind.

“It was a concern that it took as long as it did [for ministers to recommit to offshore wind] but we have now got it. I think there is the clarity we need to commitment to new investment,” he explained.

He also added that it made more sense for the government to back offshore wind than the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station as it would be less expensive.

Other windfarm operators such as Vattenfall are also optimistic about 2016, and is hoping to proceed with a turbine testing site off Scotland in June this year.

The centre would allow the Swedish-based company behind windfarms in Thanet and Kentish Flats to experiment with different kinds of turbines to see which are the most cost-effective.

“We are optimistic about offshore wind and although we still think there may be potential investment opportunities onshore we are more cautious about that,” the Vattenfall spokesman said.

He also argued that offshore wind power was very predictable given the sophistication of modern weather forecasting systems.

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