State-owned French nuclear giant pays £500m to buy pre-consented 450-MW Scottish offshore wind turbine parc

Location of the Neart na Gaoithe wind farm
Location of the Neart na Gaoithe wind farm near Edinburgh.

A mostly-nuclear power French energy giant has bought a pre-consented 450-MW Scottish offshore wind farm.

Paris-based EDF paid £500 million for the Neart na Gaoithe wind farm from the Ireland-based developer Mainstream Renewable Power.

The total investment required to deliver the project is around £1.8 billion. The commissioning of the wind farm is planned for 2023. In line with the group’s usual practice, the project will be open to other investors in due course.

The Neart na Gaoithe wind farm – and three other similarly-sized developments off the Angus and Fife coastlines in the North Sea – were delayed by an ultimately  un-successfull legal appeal by the Scottish Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB).

As a result the other offshore turbine farms in the Sea Green and Inch Cape plans by state investors from China and Scandinavia are now also cleared for construction (see map, above)

When built, Neart na Gaoithe  (which means “strength of the wind” when translated into English – one of three recognised languages in Scotland) will generate up to 450 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy, which is equivalent to the annual electricity provision of around 375,000 homes

It is a fully consented offshore wind project which is located in the Firth of Forth off the east coast of Scotland. It covers 105km  and has a 15 year Contract for Difference at 140 Euros (corresponding to the indexation of the tariff of £114.39 that was set in 2012 prices), and grid connection agreements in place.

As a result EDF will be benefitting for 15 years from the Scottish taxpayer subsidy Of £114.49/ MW-hr – which is almost double the contract for difference-prices in the last British government contracts auction.

Simone Rossi, EDF Energy chief executive, said, “This is evidence of our continuing investment and growth in Scotland, where we are the largest generator of low carbon <nuclear> power.

“Our operations contribute £389 million to Scotland’s economy every year and we employ more than 2,800 staff and contractors.”

Scotland is home to a future potential of over 4-GW of offshore wind across 10 offshore wind farms, with the opportunity to power millions of homes and the world’s first floating offshore windfarm has been developed in Scotland off the Aberdeenshire coast.

And Claire Perry, MP, a junior UK energy minister, told an industry conference yesterday in Glasgow that the renewable industry in Scotland is delivering an’ impressive’ 25% of Britain’s total renewable generation capacity.

4 May 2018

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