Three firms have been selected to own and operate £700m-worth of transmission links to seven offshore wind farms.
Balfour Beatty Capital, Macquarie Capital Group, and Transmission Capital Partners were picked for the 20-year contracts following a tender process run by energy regulator Ofgem.
This is part of a joint Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and Ofgem scheme to encourage investment in high voltage transmission links for the potential 50GW of new offshore wind generation.
The successful bidders will own and operate links for around 2 gigawatts (2 GW) of renewable electricity for Britain’s first wave of offshore wind farms.
The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Chris Huhne, said: “Offshore wind has a vital part to play in the delivery of our renewable energy targets. The decision on the preferred bidders for these licences is the first step in ensuring that offshore wind farm connections are operated in a cost effective and secure manner.”
In total, there are nine transmission links worth around £1.1bn. Preferred and reserve bidders have been selected for seven of the nine transmission projects in this tender round.
These are: Barrow (90 MW); Gunfleet Sands 1&2 (164 MW); Robin Rigg (180 MW); Sheringham Shoal (315 MW); Thanet (300 MW); Walney 1 (178 MW); and Walney 2 (183 MW).
The remaining two projects are Ormonde and Greater Gabbard. Three bidders have been selected to submit Best and Final Offers (BaFO) for the Ormonde transmission project. The Invitation to Tender (ITT) stage is to be re-run for the Greater Gabbard project.
Ofgem will commence a second round of tenders later this year for assets for around 2GW of capacity, with a potential asset value of around £1.8 billion.
In total, high voltage cable links worth over £20bn would be needed to connect a potential of around 50 GW of offshore wind over the coming years.