Big wind developer formed

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Major utiltiy PowerGen is joining forces with the Abbot Group, an oil services conglomerate, to create one of the UK's largest wind farm development and operation companies. Abbot is paying £5.35 million for 50% of the PowerGen subsidiary, PowerGen Renewables Ltd. The two companies are to pool their wind farm assets: PowerGen owns seven UK wind farms and has a portfolio of sites under development; Abbot owns a 2.25 MW wind farm at Blood Hill in Norfolk. Both companies have an interest in the planned offshore wind farm on Scroby Sands, Norfolk. The joint venture -- which will continue to be called PowerGen Renewables -- will develop and operate wind farms on land and offshore. PowerGen's Mike Pollack says Abbot's offshore experience will complement PowerGen's operating and development knowledge.

A broad framework to form the basis for drawing up leases for offshore wind development has been agreed between the British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) and Crown Estate -- the state body which owns almost all of the seabed within UK territorial waters. During initial wind prospecting stages, Crown Estate will grant developers an agreement to lease an offshore site while wind speed data is collected and a power purchase contract and development consent are sought. After achieving these, the developer will be granted a 23 year lease by Crown Estate, covering the construction period, operation and decommissioning. The form of lease negotiated with the BWEA will apply to all offshore wind developers. The agreement with Crown Estate is one of a number of initiatives to streamline the consenting process for offshore wind.

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