Greater Gabbard Wind Project Gets Go-ahead

Scottish and Southern Energy plc (SSE) has confirmed it will proceed with its investment in the 504-megawatt (MW) Greater Gabbard offshore wind farm off the Suffolk coast of the UK. Construction work will begin soon and SSE has now entered into a contract with Fluor Limited for the design, supply, installation and commissioning of the balance of the plant. A turbine reservation agreement with Siemens Wind Power A/S for the supply of 140 of its 3.6 MW turbines together with a five-year service and warranty contract for the development had already been reached.

The development of the wind farm to this stage has been carried out by Greater Gabbard Offshore Winds Ltd, a 50:50 joint venture between Airtricity, now SSE’s renewable energy development division, and Fluor International Limited.

Having secured the construction contract, Fluor has agreed to sell its 50% stake in Greater Gabbard Offshore Winds Ltd to SSE for £40 million [US $80 million] in cash. SSE, meanwhile, said it intends to sell 50 percent of the project equity later this year. The development, excluding the electrical connection to the grid, is expected to require investment of around £1.3 billion [US $2.6 billion].

On completion it will be the world’s largest offshore wind farm, covering two offshore areas, Inner Gabbard and The Galloper, located approximately 25 kilometers off the Suffolk coast, in the outer Thames Estuary. The 140 turbines will be mounted on steel monopolies and transition pieces, in water depths between 24 and 34 meters. Three 132-kilovolt sub-sea cables will bring the power ashore to a new substation to be built near Sizewell. It will be commissioned in two phases, with the entire construction scheduled to be completed in 2011.

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