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UK opens second largest offshore wind farm in world

13 August 2013

On August 7 the second largest offshore wind farm in the world, costing £1.3 billion and generating enough clean electricity to power over half a million homes, was officially opened by the Energy and Business Minister Michael Fallon. Greater Gabbard, off the Suffolk coast, has 140 turbines, and will double in size once the Galloper extension is completed in 2017.

Offshore wind has the potential to provide enough clean power for 11 million homes in the UK by the end of this decade, creating 30,000 jobs and contributing £7 billion to the economy.

Energy and Business Minister Michael Fallon said:

“The UK leads the world in offshore wind power generation with more capacity than the rest of the world combined, and we want to see this sector grow even further.

“Greater Gabbard has already brought jobs and wider benefit to the local community, with hundreds of people employed on site, and a £150,000 fund created to support local initiatives, which will be managed by Suffolk Community Foundation.

“It has also benefited local business. Today, I visited Seajacks, a British company based in Great Yarmouth, who are building the world’s largest and most advanced offshore wind farm installation vessel to transport turbines out to this great wind farm.

“This sector is an engine of our economy. By the end of this decade, tens of thousands of additional jobs could be created in the supply-chain for offshore wind throughout the UK.”

The Offshore Wind Industrial Strategy, published last week, sets out Government and industry’s joint plans to help build a thriving UK supply chain for offshore wind. Investment by the Government includes £20 million from the Regional Growth Fund to improve the UK wind industry’s supply chain, and £46 million to join up innovation between industry, Government and academia and help companies to bring new products to market.

This, alongside the draft strike prices for renewable energy, and the long-term contracts offered to investors under the Energy Bill, provides a stable and certain regime that is attractive for investors in renewables.

Michael Fallon also visited the Sizewell nuclear power plant to learn more about how Greater Gabbard will connect to the national transmission network.

SSE renewables and RWE npower renewables invested £1.3 billion in the Greater Gabbard offshore wind farm project.

SSE is one the UK’s largest generators of electricity with over 13,000 MW of generation capacity in total (UK and Ireland) from the most diverse portfolio of power stations. It is the leading generator of electricity from renewable resources with a total generation capacity of over 3,200MW. Through its renewable development division, SSE Renewables, it is involved in the development of new renewable energy projects covering wind, wave, tide, and hydroelectricity.

RWE Innogy pools the renewable energy expertise and power plants of the RWE Group. The company plans, builds and operates facilities generating power from renewable energies. Onshore and offshore wind power projects are a focus of the company’s activities. With its existing wind farms at North Hoyle (60 MW) and Rhyl Flats (90 MW) off the Welsh coast as well as Thornton Bank (30 MW) off the coast of Belgium the company has already gained valuable experience. RWE Innogy is currently building offshore wind power plants in Europe with an installed capacity of 1,000 MW on its own or together with partners. offshore wind farm and the company employs over 200 people with an annual turnover of £80 million and injects around £2 million into local businesses.

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