United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Dogger Bank offshore project cut by 20%

UK: The Forewind consortium has cut the planned capacity of its Dogger Bank offshore projects by 20% from 9GW to 7.2GW, citing investment issues.

The Dogger Bank zone lies 100 kilometres off England's east coast
The Dogger Bank zone lies 100 kilometres off England's east coast

The consortium made up of RWE, SSE, Statkraft and Statoil said that the revision has been made to focus on projects that were "likely to achieve a positive financial investment at this time".

Forewind had been planning to construct eight offshore projects in the zone, about 100 kilometres of England's east coast, but will now only pursue six.

The decision to cut two projects was made following more than four years of offshore surveys and assesments.

In what is shaping up to be a bad day for UK offshore wind, this announcement follows closely on the heels of the decision to scrap the 240MW extension of the London Array.

Dogger Bank Creyke Beck, comprising the first two 1.2GW projects, is about to enter the examination phase with the UK's consenting body, the Planning Inspectorate. The application for Dogger Bank Teesside A&B, a further two 1.2GW projects, is on track to be submitted by the spring.

One of the consortium leaders RWE announced in January that it is cutting back its renewables spending and has in recent months, after downsized the Triton Knoll offshore project and abandoning the 1.2GW Atlantic Array offshore wind project altogether.

On top of this, fellow consortium member SSE revealed plans in November to scale back the 504MW Galloper wind farm in the North Sea by nearly a third to 340MW, and said in January that it will complete a "wide-ranging review" of its offshore wind development portfolio.

However, Huub den Rooijen, head of offshore wind for the UK's seabed landlord the Crown Estate, seemed unsurprised by the decision. He said that this latest move represents proof that the "healthy attrition in the UK's pipeline is delivering a leaner industry... one that offers greater certainty about the scale of near-term development and investment opportunities."

But some in the industry will be worrying that this spate of project cancellations and downsizing represents a scaling back of ambitions in the previously buoyant UK offshore wind market.

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