British Companies Form Venture to Develop Offshore Wind

A large nuclear energy company in Britain will team up with a renewable energy group to develop offshore wind power.

EAST KILBRIDE, England – British Energy has formed a joint venture with Renewable Energy Systems Ltd to develop the offshore wind resources around the coast. The joint venture company, Offshore Wind Power Limited, has applied for its first project to the Crown Estate, which owns the seabed and will offer leases on sites for development. British Energy is England’s largest power generator, which supplies 20 percent of the country’s power. It runs the Sizewell B nuclear reactor on the Suffolk coast, and the latest plan follows another proposal for turbine on Britain’s most easterly point in Lowestoft, Suffolk. RES is one of Europe’s largest wind energy developers and part of the British McAlpine construction company. It has 1,100 MW of capacity in the U.S., Europe, Asia and the Caribbean. This year, it will construct the world’s largest wind farm in Texas, with a capacity of 280 MW. “We are pleased to be sharing our power generation and supply expertise with one of Europe’s leading wind energy developers to form a robust team for the development of offshore wind power,” says British Energy’s CEO Peter Hollins. “Adding generation from wind energy to our nuclear portfolio means the Company will continue to make an enormous contribution to the UK achieving and maintaining its climate change commitments.” “We are confident that our bid to the Crown Estate is a strong one, given our combined expertise in wind power development, construction, power generation and supply,” adds RES managing director Ian Mays. “Offshore wind power has huge potential in the UK for generating clean and efficient electricity, thereby helping the UK meet its climate change commitments. RES has made a successful business out of developing onshore wind power across the world; we look forward to working with our new partners in this exciting new power market.” The pre-qualification application to the Crown Estate marks the first stage in a development process that could last four years. Following pre-qualification, Offshore Wind Power will apply for consents, carry out surveys and enter a round of grant applications to the Department of Trade & Industry. The British government recently signalled its support for offshore wind development with an announcement of additional funding in the form of capital grants. Crown Estate is responsible for management of large tracts of land in Britain, as well as the seabed out to the 19 kilometer territorial limit. DTI anticipates that the offshore wind industry will generate 1.8 percent of the total electricity supply in England by 2010. The government has a goal of reducing emissions of carbon dioxide by 19 percent by 2010 and has allocated £89 million for projects under its Renewables Obligation. The largest offshore wind farm in the world was opened last December off the town of Blyth in northeastern England. That project was developed by a consortium of Powergen Renewables, Shell, Nuon and AMEC Border Wind, and uses Vestas turbines from Denmark.

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