RWE wins coveted 1GW Thor offshore wind lottery

Denmark's largest offshore wind farm awarded in lottery draw after initial tender failed to return clear winner

RWE is the majority owner of the Triton Knoll project in the English North Sea
RWE is the majority owner of the Triton Knoll project in the English North Sea

RWE — in the shape of its Thor Wind Farm joint venture comprising several parts of the group (RWE AG, RWE Renewables GmbH and RWE Renewables Management UK Ltd) — has won the lottery draw for the concession to build and operate the 1000MW Thor Thor (1000MW) Offshoreoff Thorsminde, Denmark, Europe Click to see full details offshore wind farm in the Danish North Sea. 

It will be granted a 30-year permit for the project, with the possibility of a five-year extension. Thor's grid connection will be available in 2025, and the developer has until the end of 2027 to bring it into full operation. Estimated to cost around DKK 15.5 billion (€2.1 billion), according to the Danish Energy Agency (DEA), Thor will be Denmark's largest offshore wind farm.

The parties invited by the DEA to draw lots for the project earlier today (1 December) had bid the same lowest DKK 0.01/kWh price for the maximum capacity in the original Thor tender, for which six groups had been prequalified to participate.

With no clear winner in that tender, the lottery draw, supervised by an independent auditor and the government’s legal advisor, Kammeradvokaten, was held earlier today.

Under the tender rules, the developer will pay for the project’s grid connection, including all necessary infrastructure on land and offshore, which is included in the bid price.

According to the DEA, this is the first time an offshore wind tender has been completed in the country without support. Estimated electricity prices mean that under Denmark's contract for difference (CfD)-style support model it is anticipated that within a few years of starting to produce power, expected from about 2025-26, the RWE venture will have paid the Danish state DKK 2.8 billion (€376.5 million). This essentially means Thor is the world's first offshore wind farm constructed with payments to the state, said the agency. However, no financial transactions are expected after 2029 when the wind farm will be run on purely commercial terms.

Sven Utermöhlen, CEO for offshore wind at RWE Renewables, said: “We look forward to working with the Danish government and all other stakeholders to take our new offshore wind development project forward. In the coming months, we will prepare for the permit application and focus on the soil investigations.”

The Thor project is the first of three offshore wind farms with a combined capacity of at least 2.4GW planned under the 2018 Danish Energy Agreement. The tender for the second planned project, the 1200MW Hesselø Hesselø (1200MW) OffshoreHesselø Bay, Denmark, Europe Click to see full details wind farm, was put on hold pending further site investigation and industry consultation.

The third project under the 2018 agreement is included in the first phase of the country's 5GW energy island plan, included in the climate agreement approved by the Danish parliament in June 2020.

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