A UK-US joint venture (JV) has announced plans to deliver output from a 10GW offshore wind project in the North Atlantic to the UK grid via high-voltage direct current (HVDC) submarine power cables.
Hecate Independent Power Limited (HIP) – a joint venture of US renewables developer Hecate Wind and UK conventional power plants developer Independent Power Corporation – plans to invest £21 billion (€34 billion) to install fixed and floating turbines at several sites in the Atlantic Ocean.
The first phase of the project will be the 2000MW HIP Atlantic Phase 1 HIP Atlantic Phase 1 (2000MW) OffshoreIceland, Europe Click to see full details, off the south and eastern coasts of Iceland. It is expected to cost £147 million and to be commissioned in early 2025, to coincide with the UK’s decommissioning of its last coal-fired power plants and historical nuclear power plants.
HIP stated that it intends to secure an offtake agreement under the UK’s contract for difference (CfD) scheme, even though the project is located outside UK waters. However, a spokesman from the UK’s Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) told Windpower Monthly: "Our policy team has confirmed that renewable energy projects built in foreign countries that supply power to the UK grid are not eligible to compete in the CfD scheme".
HIP has lodged connection applications with the UK’s National Grid for the first 4GW of grid connections with four 1GW wind farms. Electricity dispatch will be under the control of the UK electricity system operator, making HIP Atlantic the UK’s first offshore wind project in overseas waters, the developer added. No electricity from the project will supply Iceland.
HIP’s planned 10GW offshore wind cluster in the North Atlantic will be installed in a different meteorological catchment area from current North Sea and Irish Sea wind farms, providing a sufficient diversity of wind resources to ensure consistent electricity supply to the UK grid, it explained.
The developer plans to invest £200 million in a bespoke cable manufacturing plant in the north-east of England. HIP Atlantic has committed to maximising British content in every element of its equipment manufacturing and installation process. HIP claims the initial 2GW phase alone will result in 15,000 new jobs in the UK, as well as 500 jobs in Iceland.
HIP intends to use UK-based HVDC cable-laying vessels for the project, allowing for connection points along the English coastline to tie into new hyperscale data centres being developed by large digital users of renewable energy.
HIP Atlantic is finalising an institutional investment of ordinary equity capital into a project entity to develop its first two 1GW fixed-bottom offshore wind projects. Separately, it is working with investors to fund the HVDC cable manufacturing facility, and with ship owners to modify existing vessels to the size required to lay the long lengths of HVDC cable required.
The developer was founded by an investment banker, and is chaired by Sir Tony Baldry, a former energy minister for the UK's incumbent Conservative party.