The European Investment Bank (EIB) is considering a £300 million funding boost for companies bidding to connect offshore wind farms to the UK electricity grid

Ofgem E-Serve, the division of the UK energy regulator focused on environmental programmes, announced that six projects totalling over 1.6 GW will be eligible to receive funding.

The projects include the 504 MW Great Gabbard wind farm being developed by Scottish and Southern Energy, Airtricity, RWE and Innogy, Vattenfall’s 300 MW Thanet wind farm due to be completed next year and DONG Energy’s 361 MW Walney 1 and 2 wind farms. Vattenfall’s 150 MW Ormonde project and the 315 MW Sheringham Shoal wind farm being developed by StatoilHydro and Statkraft are also in the running.

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A total of 13 companies including DONG Energy, RWE npower, SSE Offshore Transmission, National Grid Offshore and a StatoilHydro/Statkraft consortium will take part in the competitive tending process to connect up offshore wind farms.

The transmission links to an additional three projects are also open to bidders, but will not be eligible for EIB funding.

“The EIB’s support will be very welcome,” says Minister of Energy Lord Hunt. “This money would help projects currently under construction get their cables in the water and feeding into the grid quickly and cheaply.”

However, Ofgem chairman Lord Mogg admits that while the £300 million funding from the EIB is helpful, the total cost of connecting up the 33 GW of offshore wind generation required to meet the UK’s emissions target will be around £15 billion – a cost that will ultimately be borne by consumers.

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