Green bank kick-starts Rampion south coast wind farm

The UK Green Investment Bank has today (18 May) taken a £236m stake in in the first offshore wind farm off the south coast of England, in a joint venture with energy giant E.ON.

The 400MW Rampion Offshore Wind Farm on the Brighton coast will now commence construction and is scheduled to be operational by September 2018.

The scheme will comprise 116 turbines, generating a total of 1,333GWh of renewable energy each year – enough to power 300,000 homes. It is also forecast to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 4,215 kt CO2e across its 25-year lifetime, equivalent to taking 75,000 cars off the road.

“Our investment gives the developer the confidence to begin construction on this important offshore wind project, boosting UK energy supply and generating enough power annually for around three hundred thousand homes,” said Green Investment Bank chief executive Shaun Kingsbury.

New investment

This is the Green Investment Bank’s seventh investment in the UK’s offshore wind sector. Once these projects are operational they will provide over 2,500 MW of renewable electricity generation capacity – enough to power more than two million homes.

Last month, the Green Investment Bank’s subsidiary company, UK Green Investment Bank Financial Services Limited, also announced that it had reached first close on the world’s first offshore wind fund, designed to attract new investors to the UK.

E.ON is the world’s third largest offshore wind operator, having completed the construction of seven offshore wind farms totalling 1.2GW, with another 507 MW currently under construction. Late last year, the energy firm announced it would be focusing more heavily on renewable energy and transfering fossil fuel power generation to a new independent company – the New Company.

World-leading bank

E.ON’s UK chief executive Tony Cocker said: “This is an important milestone for what is a strategically important project for the UK. At around £1.3bn, this investment by E.ON and our partners at the UK Green Investment Bank could be one of the biggest capital projects confirmed in Britain this year and we are proud of the leading role we are continuing to take in helping transform the UK’s energy infrastructure.”

Around 300 jobs will be created during the anticipated three-year construction phase of the Rampion project. And up to 65 permanent full-time employees will be required to oversee operations and maintenance once the wind farm has been commissioned.

The announcement comes just days after UK Prime Minister David Cameron heaped praise on the ‘world-leading’ Green Investment Bank, during a visit to the organisation’s headquarters in Edinburgh.

Cameron underlined his support for Government’s green funding mechanism, which has invested more than £1.8bn of capital in 46 projects across the UK since its launch in 2012.

Luke Nicholls

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie