ScottishPower Renewables today announced its final investment decision to proceed with a £2.5 billion investment in the East Anglia-1 project which, it claims, will be the ‘best value offshore windfarm in the world’ when completed.
More than 100 wind turbines will be installed in the North Sea, about 25 miles off the coast.
It is due to be operational by 2020 and will will generate 714 megawatts, enough to power the equivalent of 500,000 homes.
As well as creating up to 3,000 jobs during construction, East Anglia-1 will spend at least 50% of the total £2.5 billion investment in the UK.
East Anglia-1 is the first of four windfarms Scottish Power is planning to build off the eastern coast of the British mainland, demonstrating the company’s long term commitment to East Anglia and its economic prosperity, as the region offers the best opportunity for offshore wind in the UK.
Scottish Power said it is committed to meeting the government’s cost reduction targets and East Anglia-1 is the ‘most cost-efficient’ offshore windfarm ever to confirm construction.
The price of £119 MWh – secured after a competitive auction process run by the Government – is more than 15% lower than other offshore wind projects in construction elsewhere in the UK.
Charlie Jordan, ScottishPower Renewables East Anglia-1 project director, said: “This project will deliver substantial environmental benefits for the UK, stimulate considerable UK investment, and support thousands of jobs.
“Offshore wind has proven itself as a technology that works, and the more offshore wind capacity we have in the UK, the more secure our energy supplies will be.
“East Anglia has some of the best conditions anywhere in the world for the development of offshore wind, and we are fully committed to the region, with future developments already in the pipeline.
“ScottishPower Renewables is leading the way with its approach of actively working towards a target of at least 50% UK supply chain content over the lifetime of the East Anglia-1project. We have already worked with a wide range of companies across East Anglia and we look forward to working with many more.”
Over the last year Scottish Power has held a number of local supply chain events across the region and Jordan added: “We’ve has been pleased to see so many people attending and keen to be involved.
“The ScottishPower Renewables’ Skills Strategy for East Anglia-1 has now been agreed with the local councils across Suffolk, with the aim to develop a local skilled workforce who can access future employment opportunities within the offshore wind industry.
This will include funding student places on technician and college courses in the local area and launching a STEM ambassador programme.
The project is also a significant milestone for the East Anglia region, as the project will bring substantial investment to the local economy, including a £25 million deal with the Port of Lowestoft to be the home of the windfarm for 30-plus years, during construction and operation phases.
Meanwhile, Spain’s Iberdrola Group – which owns Scottish Power has reported a 4% increase in profits last year (2015) of €2,422 million.