ScottishPower Renewables and DONG Energy have today approved the construction of the 389MW West of Duddon Sands offshore windfarm.
The project will be located 14km southwest of the Barrow-in-Furness coastline, with work commencing in early 2012, initially with construction of the required onshore connections. When completed, the windfarm will be able to provide power for approximately 300,000 homes.
The total cost of construction of the 50/50 partnership project is up to GBP 1.6 billion which includes the cost to construct the offshore transmission assets. When the wind farm goes into operation, these assets will be sold to an offshore transmission operator, selected by Ofgem, and the costs of the transmission assets will be returned.
The partners have commissioned two purpose built installation vessels to be used in the construction of the project, allowing work to be undertaken in all seasonal conditions. Foundations for the turbines will be laid in early summer 2013 and the project is expected to be fully completed in 2014.
The installation and pre-assembly operations shall largely be run out of Belfast Harbour, which stands to benefit from significant upgrade works, making it one of the first bespoke offshore wind installation and pre-assembly harbours in the UK. This marks a significant investment and creates a large number of jobs in Belfast, during the construction of the harbour and then its use as a pre-assembly facility.
The operational base for the windfarm will be the Port of Barrow, which is also being used for the operation of several other offshore windfarms in the East Irish Sea. This will result in several hundred jobs in the local area.
Keith Anderson, CEO of ScottishPower Renewables, said: “West of Duddon Sands will be the first offshore wind project in our pipeline to be commissioned, and marks the start of our extensive investment programme in the offshore wind sector.
“We have over 10GW of offshore windfarms in development, including the 7.2GW East Anglia Offshore windfarm, one of the largest proposed renewable energy projects anywhere in the world.
“We’ve been working with DONG Energy on West of Duddon Sands for many years now and we look forward to continuing this partnership throughout the construction and the operation of the windfarm.
“Offshore windfarm development has already created a number of jobs locally and we look forward to be adding to that number with today’s announcement.”
Anders Eldrup, CEO of DONG Energy, said:
"We look forward to the partnership with ScottishPower Renewables. West of Duddon Sands will be DONG Energy's ninth wind offshore wind farm in the UK and therefore underlines DONG Energy's position as market leader within offshore wind."