Finance Agreed for World's Largest Offshore Windfarm
The partners behind the world's largest proposed offshore windfarm have agreed financing for the first two phases, amounting to £6 billion ($8 billion).
Oil and gas major Equinor (NYSE:EQNR) (Stavanger, Norway) and SSE Renewables are 50:50 partners in the U.K.-based Dogger Bank windfarm project, which is split into three phases--Dogger Bank A, Dogger Bank B, and Dogger Bank C--each with a capacity of 1.2 gigawatts (GW). Financing has now been agreed for the first two phases of the giant windfarm which will be located more than 130 kilometres off the Yorkshire coast, in U.K. waters.
Onshore construction is currently underway for Dogger Bank A and Dogger Bank B, with offshore construction for Dogger Bank A due to begin in Q2 2022. For both phases, onshore and offshore cable and all turbine foundations will be installed by 2023. First power is expected in summer 2023 and summer 2024 for Dogger Bank A and B, respectively, with commercial operations to begin the following year. When the third phase is completed by 2026, the combined Dogger Bank Windfarm will be able to produce 18 terawatt hours (TWh) annually-- enough for 6 million homes and the equivalent of 5% of the U.K.'s power demand. Industrial Info is tracking all three projects.
Equinor is among a growing number of oil and gas companies trying to diversify into renewable energy. Last month, Industrial Info reported that Equinor had pledged to be a net-zero emitter of greenhouse gases by 2050, including emissions from the production and final consumption of oil and gas. The company has tipped renewables as "a significant growth area" with ambitious targets of renewable energy capacity of 4-6 GW by 2026 and 12-16 GW by 2035. The company will set up renewables as a separate reporting segment from early next year. For additional information, see November 11, 2020, article--Equinor Targets Net Zero Emissions by 2050.
"Reaching financial close on the two first phases of Dogger Bank is a major milestone, demonstrating our commitment to profitable growth within offshore wind," commented Pål Eitrheim, Equinor's executive vice president of New Energy Solutions. "The extensive interest from lenders underpins the attractiveness of U.K. offshore wind assets."
Dogger Bank also is notable for being the first project to use the largest commercially available turbine in the world, the 13 MW GE Haliade-X, supplied by GE Renewable Energy (NYSE:GE). Phases A and B will each feature 95 of the Haliade-X 1 turbines. The uprated 13 MW Haliade-X launched in September will, like its 12-MW predecessor, also feature 107-metre long blades and 220-metre rotor. According to GE "one spin of the Haliade-X 13 MW can generate enough electricity to power a U.K. household for more than two days".
In related news, Danish turbine manufacturer Vestas Wind Systems A/S (OMX:VWS) (Aarhus, Denmark) has received the green light from the European Commission (EC) to acquire MHI's 50% share of the MHI Vestas' joint venture for 2.5% of Vestas' shares, worth roughly 709 million euro ($850 million), and a seat on the Board of Directors. Vestas claimed the move will help it become a "leading player in offshore wind by 2025" while promising that a new offshore wind turbine platform will also be launched imminently. Vestas and MHI also plan on collaborating in green hydrogen.