For its offshore wind projects, energy company Centrica has forestalled future restrictions in the availability of vessels for constructing power stations at sea by extending its exclusive charter for wind turbine installation vessel the MV Resolution to 2016. The company first secured the services of the vessel from January 2007 to install 54 Siemens turbines at its Lynn and Inner Dowsing wind farms off the east coast of England. It has now agreed with MPI -- -the owner of the MV Resolution -- to exercise its option to extend its lease to 2009-2011, plus five further one-year options which take it to 2016. This could deliver a further 1.25 GW of offshore wind capacity, subject to obtaining consents and board approval for a potential £3 billion of investment. Centrica says it is in talks with other investors to reduce the cost to the company of building out its project pipeline. It is awaiting consent for its 250 MW Lincs project to the east of Lynn and Inner Dowsing and expects to apply later this year for permits for two other 500 MW projects, Docking Shoal and Race Bank, both in the Greater Wash in the same area off eastern England. As renewables targets for the UK increase, the company, which supplies 10% of the electricity market, expects to be one of the largest investors in wind, says Alan Thompson from Centrica. Meantime, he claims the company is not looking to monopolise the MV Resolution. "We're open to other commercial opportunities that may arise during times when it may not be required for our own work," he says, pointing to the agreement with E.ON, which used it recently on its Robin Rigg project off the northwest coast of England, where it will be used again when Centrica finishes work on Lynn and Inner Dowsing this summer.
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Senior Renewable Energy Analyst (WindGEMINI Product Lead) DNV GL Bristol (City Centre), City of Bristol