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RWE Renewables and its project partners have signed with The Crown Estate Agreements for Lease for developing four projects in the United Kingdom to extend the existing offshore wind farms Gwynt y Môr, Galloper, Greater Gabbard and Rampion. The granted seabed leases comprise extension projects with a combined potential installed capacity of around 1.8 Gigawatts (GW), with RWE’s pro rata share amounting to almost 900 megawatts (MW). Furthermore, it was decided to seek to develop the remaining seabed option at the original Zone 6 of the existing Rampion project and combine this with the extension project at this windfarm.
The Gwynt y Môr extension project called Awel y Môr is located off the coast of North Wales in the Irish Sea. Its capacity may be up to 576 MW (RWE share 60%). The Galloper extension called Five Estuaries has a potential capacity of up to 353 MW (RWE share 25%) and the Greater Gabbard extension, renamed North Falls, has an agreement for up to 504 MW (RWE share 50%). Both projects are located in the southern North Sea. The Rampion 2 development project with a potential capacity of up to 1,200 MW (RWE share 50.01%) is located off the coast of Sussex in the English Channel.
All projects are in very early stages. The necessary development and consenting activities will now progress in accordance with current UK Government guidelines which will include comprehensive stakeholder consultation and determining each project’s exact installed capacity. The consenting processes are expected to take three to five years with participation in auctions for a Contract for Difference (CfD) and construction following thereafter. The wind farms could become fully operational towards the end of the decade.
Tom Glover, RWE Renewables Chief Commercial Officer and RWE UK Country Chair, said: “RWE looks back on many years of experience in the UK offshore wind industry, working hand in hand with the communities where our renewables projects are located. I expect the four offshore wind extension projects to bring significant benefits to the UK energy infrastructure and economy. They present a potential multi-billion pound investment and could grow the local supply chain as well as lead to the creation of hundreds of jobs.”
RWE will take the lead on behalf of partners for the development of the Awel y Môr and Five Estuaries offshore wind farms. RWE and SSE Renewables have formed a 50:50 joint venture company to develop the North Falls offshore wind farm together. Rampion 2 is a joint venture between RWE, a Macquarie-led consortium and Enbridge. RWE will manage the project.
The United Kingdom plays a key role in RWE’s strategy to grow its renewables business and to become carbon neutral by 2040. With nine offshore wind farms in the UK in operation, RWE has significant experience in the offshore market. The company’s pro-rata installed capacity in offshore wind amounts in the UK to 1.4 GW. Furthermore, RWE is currently constructing the 857 MW offshore wind farm Triton Knoll (RWE share 59%) off the Lincolnshire coast and is developing the 1.4 GW offshore wind farm Sofia, 100% owned by RWE. RWE also has a strong footprint in onshore wind in the UK, with an installed pro-rata capacity of around 650 megawatts in operation.