Energy Minister Greg Barker today opened a new extension to the Gunfleet Sands offshore wind farm that will see the first demonstration in UK waters of the next generation of offshore wind turbines. The turbines, made by Siemens, and installed by DONG Energy, have been deliberately designed to be used at sea and have the potential to significantly cut the cost of producing renewable energy from offshore wind.
Many turbines currently installed off the UK coastline are variations on turbines designed for use onshore. The new generation used at Gunfleet will be more cost-effective and efficient – improving the UK’s energy security and increasing the amount of energy generated from renewables.
At the opening ceremony Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said:
” The Coalition is driving huge new investment to deliver both affordable bills and cleaner energy for consumers. This includes an important role for offshore wind.
“Dong Energy’s Gunfleet Sands Offshore Wind Farm is an excellent and innovative example. It’s helping the country take another step towards a clean, secure energy future while helping to support local jobs.”
Benj Sykes, DONG Energy Wind Power’s UK Country Manager said:
“The inauguration of this demonstration project marks an important milestone for DONG Energy in the UK. We are the market leader for a reason; we are using the latest technology to push the boundaries of the industry forward and we continue to remain committed to playing a central role in ensuring the offshore wind industry in this country achieves its full potential.”
The offshore wind industry now provides clean energy to 2.3 million homes each year in the UK. Since 2010 DECC has recorded private sector announcements that could see over £29 billion of investment in renewables in the UK. This has the potential to support around 30,000 jobs across the country.
The Offshore Wind Industrial Strategy, published last month, sets out Government and industry’s joint plans to help build a thriving UK supply chain for offshore wind. Investment by the Government includes £20 million from the Regional Growth Fund to improve the competitiveness of the UK wind industry’s supply chain, and £46 million for the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult over 5 years to join up innovation between industry, Government and academia and help companies to bring new products to market. This, alongside the draft strike prices for renewable energy, and the long-term contracts offered to investors under the Energy Bill, provides a stable and certain regime that is attractive for investors in renewables.
DECC also provides support for offshore wind innovation through the Offshore Wind Component Technologies Scheme. With a budget of up to £15 million, this scheme aims to help companies to test and demonstrate devices and to develop component technologies that can cut the costs of offshore wind energy in the run up to 2020 and in the subsequent decade.
Notes for Editors
- More information about Gunfleet Sands is available on the DONG Energy website
- The Offshore Wind Industrial Sector Strategy is available on GOV.UK
- More information about the DECC Energy Bill can be found on GOV.UK
- DONG energy has now installed more than 1 gigawatts of offshore wind capacity around the UK.