SSE ups offshore wind ambition with increased share in Seagreen
SSE is taking full ownership of the offshore wind projects under development by Seagreen Wind Energy Limited, in which it currently has a 50% share. SSE has today acquired the other half of the offshore wind joint venture from Fluor Ltd.
Located in Scottish waters, in the outer Firth of Forth and Firth of Tay, the Seagreen projects have the potential to provide a significant contribution to Scotland’s renewable energy generation capacity and helping to meet Scotland and the UK’s ambitious renewable energy targets. Increasing its share in Seagreen is in line with SSE’s offshore wind ambitions and with the Group’s broader strategy to create value for shareholders and society from developing, owning and operating energy and related infrastructure and services in a sustainable way, with regulated energy networks and renewable energy at its core.
Seagreen Phase 1, consisting of the ‘Alpha’ and ‘Bravo’ projects, is currently seeking amendments to the existing consent to take advantage of the advances in offshore wind turbine technology since the original consent was granted back in 2014. The new proposal would see fewer, larger, higher capacity wind turbines and the inclusion of monopiles as a foundation option. A maximum of 120 turbines would be developed across the Alpha and Bravo areas with a potential capacity of approximately 1,500MW. This would provide enough energy to provide enough power for at least 670,000 homes.
SSE remains focused on preparing the Seagreen Phase 1 projects in readiness for the next UK contracts for difference auction. In July 2018, the Energy Minister, Claire Perry, announced the next auction will be open by May 2019, with subsequent auctions around every two years, and confirmed £557m of budget will be available to fund projects. This provided welcome clarity around the government’s long-term commitment to the offshore wind sector, which, with nearly 8GW installed, is already a UK success story.
Martin Pibworth, SSE’s Wholesale Director, said: “The Seagreen acquisition aligns with SSE’s ambition to create value from owning, operating and developing clean energy assets and infrastructure. We are looking forward to taking full ownership of Seagreen as we progress through this critical phase towards the contracts for difference auction, expected in May 2019. SSE’s expertise in the development, construction and operation of offshore wind will be an asset to Seagreen, and we will review the ownership structure in due course.”
The Seagreen acquisition marks another milestone in SSE’s offshore wind journey. Active in the offshore wind industry since 2004, SSE has established itself as a leading UK player, with a 25% share in Walney offshore wind farm and a 50% share in Greater Gabbard offshore wind farm, which is operated by SSE. Right now, SSE is leading the construction and operation of the Beatrice offshore wind farm in the outer Moray Firth (SSE share 40%), where 20 of the 84 turbines are installed, which SSE will also operate when construction completes in 2019.
Alongside Seagreen, SSE is also actively developing projects at Dogger Bank (3.6GW, SSE share 50%) and holds a development option at Arklow Bank in Ireland (520MW), bringing its total share of consented development pipeline to over 3.3GW. Looking ahead, SSE is also exploring opportunities to secure further seabed through The Crown Estate and Crown Estate Scotland leasing processes.