Offshore: Offshore Digest

Billion Bid

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The consortium planning to build the 1 GW London Array offshore wind farm has applied to the European Investment Bank (EIB) for a £1 billion loan to finance the first phase, totalling 630 MW. The project will comprise 175 Siemens turbines sited in the outer Thames estuary, between 20 and 40 kilometres from the north Kent coast. The EIB estimates that the project will cost about £2.2 billion. The consortium partners, E.ON, Dong Energy and Abu Dhabi green investment company Masdar, announced in May that they would proceed with the project as a result of the UK government's proposal to increase support to offshore wind. The EIB is no stranger to financing offshore projects, having recently agreed to finance Belwind's 165 MW Bligh Bank project off Belgium and previously has provided Dong with nearly EUR840 million of finance for five offshore wind farms in Denmark and the UK.

Godewind 2

The 400 MW Gode Wind 2 German offshore station project in the North Sea has received a construction permit. It is the third German offshore project developed by PNE Wind - formerly Plambeck Neue Energien - to get authorisation, taking the total capacity of PNE's offshore projects that ready to build to 1,077 MW. The company adds that it has seven German offshore projects under development in the North Sea and the Baltic Sea totalling 2,416 MW. GodeWind 2 is slated for an area in the North Sea, about 33 kilometres to the north of the island of Nordeney. PNE plans to implement this project with a "strong, financially sound partner", which it declines to name. Construction is slated to begin in 2011 or 2012. The project will be built next to the site for Gode Wind 1, another 400MW project for which PNE Wind received authorisation from the Federal Agency for Marine Shipping and Hydrography in August 2006. PNE Wind sold a 90% stake in Gode Wind 1 to Econcern in November 2007. After the Dutch company went bust in May 2009, PNE is now looking for alternative investors.

PNE Wind's third permitted German offshore project is Borkum Riffgrund 1, a project comprising 77 turbines and a total capacity of 277 MW, that was authorised in 2004. The project is owned by a joint venture with Danish company Dong Energy and Swedish firm Vattenfall. PNE currently holds a 50% stake in the project. Looking ahead, PNE Wind expects to receive a permit for the neighbouring project named Borkum Riffgrund 2 in 2010. The project will comprise 96 turbines with a total capacity of 480 MW, it is planned.

Double Bomb

Two unexploded World War II bombs have been discovered at the site of the Greater Gabbard offshore wind power project during seabed surveys prior to the start of construction. The 500 MW project, located in the North Sea off Suffolk, England, is a joint venture by Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) and Germany's RWE. An spokesman for SSE says the discovery has not delayed the project. "When you are working in the North Sea, you expect to come across some bits and bobs occasionally," he says. "It has had no effect on project timescales; it continues on schedule." The bombs were cleared by engineers and dealt with using controlled explosives, he adds. Offshore construction work is now under way with installation of the offshore transformer and work on installing the foundations is to begin shortly, according to the company.

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