Government funding boost could aid proposed wind farm projects off East Anglia’s coast

The Greater Gabbard wind farm.

The Greater Gabbard wind farm. - Credit: Archant

Three projects to build new wind farms off the East Anglian coast could have a better chance of securing funding following an increase in the Government’s spending pot.

An extra £25million has been added to the £325m Contract for Difference (CfD) fund set up to help finance low carbon technologies.

Firms are having to compete for the funding, but there are hopes that at least one of the East Anglian projects believed to be the subject of bids – Galloper, East Anglia One, and Race Bank – will be among the winners announced on February 26.

James Gray, inward investment director for the East of England Energy Zone, said the extra money was a strong message about the future of wind energy, and the thousands of jobs and economic boost the new wind farms would bring.

Market leaders were viewing the region as key for offshore wind development with ports in Suffolk and Norfolk particularly well placed to benefit. “We would like to win first time round but the key thing is that we are now seeing a process kicking in,” added Mr Gray.

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RWE Innogy, which is behind the 68-turbine Galloper development – effecitvely be an extension of the existing Greater Gabbard wind farm off Felixstowe and Harwich – said last October that it would not be going ahead with the project due to doubts over the timescale for funding under the former Renewables Obligation Certificates mechanism.

This followed a decision in March last year by Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE), joint owner of Galloper, not to continue its interest in the project into the next phase of development.

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In December, however, RWE Innogy disclosed that, togehther with SSE, it was in talks with “a number of other companies” over potential involvement, with the CfD mechanism involving different rules.

Galloper is estimated to be worth around £20m to the local economy, including 850 jobs, with Lowestoft selected as the operations and maintenance base for the project.

Of the other bidders for CfD funding, which like Galloper have also already received consent, East Anglia One, located off Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth, is led by Scottish Power Renewables and Vattenfallm, and Race Bank, off Blakeney, on the north Norfolk coast, is led by Dong Energy.

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