RWE, one of the globally leading companies in offshore wind, has been confirmed as Preferred Bidder for two adjacent offshore wind sites with a total potential capacity of 3,000 megawatts (MW), as part of the UK Offshore Wind Leasing Round 4 by The Crown Estate. The average price the company was awarded to lease seabed was GBP 82,552 per MW per year, which was the lowest awarded price during the auction. The awarded sites are in the shallow central area of the North Sea known as Dogger Bank, 110 kilometres from the North East coast of England. The sites are close to RWE’s existing offshore wind development project Sofia.
Sven Utermöhlen, COO Wind Offshore Global of RWE Renewables said: “The awarded sites on Dogger Bank are a perfect fit to our UK offshore wind portfolio as they are in the proximity of our existing offshore wind development project Sofia, offering future operational synergies. As next steps, we intend to start development works and preparation for consenting as soon as possible. We look forward to working with The Crown Estate and all other stakeholders to take our new UK offshore wind development projects forward.”
The Crown Estate will now progress with a Plan-Level Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA) to assess potential impacts on marine life in the preferred seabed area. Subject to a positive outcome, RWE can secure seabed lease agreements with The Crown Estate, which is to be expected for spring 2022. This will be followed by necessary development and consenting activities in accordance with current UK Government guidelines which will include comprehensive stakeholder consultation. This is followed by participation in Contract for Difference (CfD) auctions, final investment decision and then construction. Depending on the availability of grid connection, the projects could become fully operational at the end of this decade.
The UK plays a key role in RWE’s strategy to grow its renewables portfolio and to become carbon neutral by 2040. The company is currently constructing the 857 MW offshore wind farm Triton Knoll (RWE’s pro-rate share: 506 MW) off the Lincolnshire coast which is expected to be fully commissioned in the first quarter of 2022. RWE is also developing the 1.4 gigawatts Sofia offshore wind project on Dogger Bank. This will enlarge RWE’s existing UK portfolio of nine offshore wind farms. In addition, RWE and partners signed in 2020 Agreements for Lease with The Crown Estate to develop extension projects at four offshore wind farms.
“The UK is one of the key strategic markets to expand our renewables portfolio and to strengthen our position as a leading player in offshore wind worldwide. We are delighted to be confirmed as Preferred Bidder by The Crown Estate. This success creates further momentum to boost our activities in the UK. As RWE we are determined to contribute to delivering the UK’s ambition to grow offshore wind capacity to 40 gigawatts by 2030.”