The European Investment Bank has agreed to provide GBP 168 million for a new connection between the Lincs offshore wind farm and the UK national transmission network. The approximately 100km connection, between high voltage transmission connections on the mainland and the 270MW Lincolnshire wind farm, has been tendered under a dedicated regulatory regime for offshore transmission networks by OFGEM, the UK gas and electricity market regulator.
“Offshore wind will play a significant role as part of the UK's energy mix over the coming decades and the European Investment Bank is committed to supporting long-term investment in energy infrastructure that both enhances production of electricity from renewable sources and connects renewable energy into the national network. We are pleased to continue support for offshore wind infrastructure in UK waters and investment in transmission connections under the OFTO regime facilitates new investment in offshore wind farms. This sector is creating hundreds of new jobs along the North Sea coast and supporting manufacturing and research across the country.” said Jonathan Taylor, European Investment Bank Vice President.
The transmission connection to the Lincs wind farm, 8 km off the Skegness coast, will include one offshore substation and connect to the national transmission network at an onshore substation at Walpole, Norfolk. The Lincs wind farm will comprise 75 turbines that when operational can produce enough clean renewable energy for over 200,000 homes, equivalent to around two thirds of the homes in Lincolnshire and contribute to the UK government’s strategy of ensuring that 15% of energy is from renewable sources by 2020.
Assets for the Lincs offshore transmission connection have been developed by Lincs Wind Farm Limited, a joint venture between Centrica, Dong Energy and Siemens Project Ventures. Under the OFTO regime the transmission assets will be transferred to Transmission Capital Partners, a consortium comprising Amber Infrastructure, International Public Partnerships and Transmission Investment, who will own and operate the connection under a twenty year agreement.
This is the sixth connection under the OFTO regime, developed to ensure that offshore renewable generation projects are economically and efficiently connected to Britain’s electricity grid, to be supported by Europe’s long-term lending institution. Previous OFTO connections supported by the EIB include Walney 1 and 2, Sheringham Shoal, Greater Gabbard and London Array.
Last month the board of the EIB, comprising all 28 European member state shareholders, approved EIB’s participation in Round 3 of the OFTO regime.