£240m boost for UK offshore wind sector

The UK's position as a world leader in offshore wind power generation has been cemented with a new £240m investment from the Green Investment Bank (GIB).

The state-owned GIB has purchased a 20% stake in the 315MW Sheringham Shoal offshore wind farm for an agreed valuation of £240m. It is the Bank’s second-largest investment to date – just shy of the £240.8m investment in Westermost Rough offshore wind farm announced last year

Over time, GIB will transfer the investment to its Operating Offshore Wind Fund which aims to strengthen the UK offshore wind sector by allowing developers to recycle capital into new projects and attracting new investors. 

Sheringham Shoal, which generates more than 1.1TWh of net renewable electricity per year, is jointly owned by Norwegian energy firms Statkraft and Statoil through Scira Offshore Energy Limited. The company intends to develop offshore wind projects in the UK, including the 402MW Dudgeon project off the Norfolk cost which is expected to be operational in 2017.

Attract investors

GIB chief executive Shaun Kingsbury said: “This is an important investment for the UK offshore wind sector in two respects.

“Firstly, it allows two strategically important investors, Statkraft and Statoil, to take part of their investment in an operating project and reinvest it in other projects.

“Secondly, we intend, in time, to transfer the asset to our proposed Operating Offshore Wind Fund, which is intended to attract new investors and new capital to the UK.”

In September, GlobalData released a report which revealed that the UK is leading the way in offshore wind power, with a 52% share of the international market last year

£5bn in 2 years

Commenting on this investment, Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “The UK’s offshore wind sector is incredibly important to the UK, currently supporting 6,000 jobs and contributing millions to the economy each year. Britain leads the world in offshore wind power generation and this latest investment by GIB will cement that position.”

Last month, David Cameron praised the positive impact of the GIB which has ploughed more than £5bn worth of investment in 37 green energy investment projects across the country since its inception two years ago. 

Lois Vallely

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