Greater Gabbard granted offshore transmission license

UK: Energy regulator, Ofgem has granted Greater Gabbard offshore transmission owner (OFTO) the licence to own and operate the £317 million (EUR 379 million) transmission link to the 504MW Greater Gabbard offshore wind farm in the North Sea.

A turbine being installed at Greater Gabbard

Greater Gabbard OFTO, which is owned by a consortium comprising of Balfour Beatty Investments, Equitix and AMP Capital Investors, is the first OFTO project to be funded through capital markets.

This is also the first UK project, and the second in Europe, to use the European Investment Bank’s (EIB's) project bond credit enhancement (PBCE) product. This aims to attract additional private finance from institutional investors, such as insurance companies and pensions funds.

Greater Gabbard OFTO plc will take over ownership of the link from Greater Gabbard Offshore Winds Limited (GGOWL), following Ofgem’s competitive tendering process.

GGOWL is jointly owned by SSE Renewables (50%) and RWE npower renewables (50%) – the developers of the 504MW wind farm, which has 140 Siemens turbines situated 22 kilometres off Suffolk’s coast.

Jonathan Taylor, UK vice-president at the EIB, said: "This adds a new dimension to infrastructure finance in the UK energy transmission sector by attracting greater participation by institutional investors in an essential part of the offshore wind value chain."

The competitive offshore transmission regulatory regime has secured more than £1.4 billion of investment to date.

The EIB has provided more than £6 billion for long-term investment in the UK energy sector over the past five years, including £500 million for Greater Gabbard.