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World leading UK offshore wind zone to double capacity to 6GW

Consortium for world’s largest offshore wind development zone signs grid-connection deals for another 3GW of capacity

The grid connection agreements will further boost offshore wind in the UK
The grid connection agreements will further boost offshore wind in the UK

The consortium for the world’s largest offshore wind development zone has signed deals to double its grid-connected wind capacity to 6GW in the UK.

Forewind, the UK offshore consortium, has signed connection agreements with National Grid for three further 1GW grid connections. This adds to the 3GW signed since the zone was awarded in early 2010.

Forewind is a consortium comprising of four leading international energy companies, which joined forces to bid for the Dogger Bank Zone Development Agreement as part of The Crown Estate’s third licence round for UK offshore wind farms (Round 3).

Dogger Bank is the largest of the Round 3 zones, but with water depths ranging from 18 to 63m, it is also one of the shallowest. It has the potential for approximately 4GW development capacity in less than 30m water depths and 8GW in less than 35m water depths. It is in the North Sea, located off the east coast of Yorkshire, England and extends over approximately 8660 km2.

These latest agreements for connections located in Teesside and Yorkshire mean Forewind can proceed with the development of a total of 6GW of offshore wind farm generation capacity. This could feasibly generate as much green energy per year as the total amount of electricity used annually by homes and industry in England’s Yorkshire and the Humber region.

Forewind has the objective to achieve consent for at least 9GW of offshore wind farm projects, with a potential capacity for the Dogger Bank zone of up to 13GW. This figure equates to almost 10 per cent of the UK’s projected electricity requirements. This huge undertaking means that the zone will be developed as a series of up to 12 separate similar-sized wind farm projects.

Forewind head of electrical systems, David Flood acknowledged the organisation’s close working relationship with National Grid over the past two years and is delighted with the identification of these mutually acceptable grid locations for what is a very complex development.

Flood said: “Both organisations have worked extremely hard on this agreement, which demonstrates Forewind’s ambitions and the appetite of our parent companies to take these projects forward. We can now proceed with determining the optimum onshore cable routes and coastal cable landfall points to connect a total of six offshore wind farms to the electricity network.

“Securing further capacity close to our existing connection agreements offers the opportunity to reduce the impact of the projects, which could provide clean electricity to millions of homes.”

Forewind signed a 1GW grid agreement to connect its first project into the Creyke Beck substation, near Cottingham, in the East Riding of Yorkshire, in March 2010. The latest signing means a total of 2GW of generation capacity could connect at this site. This first stage of Forewind’s development is known as Dogger Bank Creyke Beck.

The other two new 1GW connections are likely to connect into an as yet undefined site in the Teesside area. Forewind and National Grid will now enter into a further study phase to identify the most suitable connection location within Teesside for these two projects.

Offshore wind farm developments will be one of the many topics discussed at BigSwitch Offshore Wind. The international event, which Renewable Energy Technology (RET) is sponsoring, is taking place in Glasgow on 26th and 27th June. It aims to advance technological developments across global offshore wind by encouraging the European renewable energy industry to work with key delegations from the world’s biggest emerging markets, including China and India, as well as the US. For more information on the event, please email RET Editor Heath Reidy at heath.reidy@bric.com.