The Green Investment Bank (GIB) has acquired a £236m stake in a joint venture with E.ON to construct and own the 400MW Rampion offshore wind farm, which will be constructed 13km off the Sussex coast in the English Channel.
Construction of the onshore substation in Twineham is planned to start in June, closely followed by preparation works for the onshore cable route. Offshore construction is scheduled to start in early 2016 with planned completion in 2018.
Around 300 jobs will be created during the anticipated three-year construction phase of the project. E.ON is developing a purpose-built operations and maintenance base in the port of Newhaven.
Rampion is expected to generate 1,333 GWh a year once operational – enough to power approximately 300,000 homes. It will be the largest ever project for turbine producer MHI Vestas Offshore Wind, which is supplying its V112-3.45MW turbines.
The project has been developed by E.ON, which will continue to own the remaining shares in the joint venture. E.ON is the world's third largest offshore wind operator, having built seven offshore wind farms totalling 1.2GW, with another 507 MW currently under construction.
This is GIB's seventh investment in the UK's offshore wind sector. Last month, GIB subsidiary UK Green Investment Bank Financial Services Ltd also announced that it had reached first close on the world's first offshore wind fund, designed to attract new investors to the UK.
GIB chief executive Shaun Kingsbury said: "Our investment gives the developer the confidence to begin construction on this important offshore wind project, boosting UK energy supply and generating enough power annually for around three hundred thousand homes."
E.ON UK chief executive Tony Cocker said: "This is an important milestone for what is a strategically important project for the UK. At around £1.3bn this investment by E.ON and our partners at the UK Green Investment Bank could be one of the biggest capital projects confirmed in Britain this year and we are proud of the leading role we are continuing to take in helping transform the UK's energy infrastructure."