OrbisEnergy: East of England Remains UK’s OWF Powerhouse

Johnathan Reynolds, business development lead for renewables and innovation hub OrbisEnergy in Lowestoft, Suffolk, and director of energy firm Nautilus Associates, said that East of England businesses can be confident of the development of many offshore wind farms off their coast.

As the supply chain in the East of England prepares to compete for work with developers of the world’s largest wind farm, East Anglia One, to be built off its coast and the timetable for the next Contracts for Difference (CfDs) auction next year has been announced, Reynolds said there is still a strong chance that the Galloper wind farm will be developed under the previous funding mechanism, Renewables Obligation Certificates (ROCs).

As Scottish Power Renewables “runs very fast”, in managing director Jonathan Cole’s words, to develop the world’s largest wind farm off the UK’s most easterly point, the East of England can be buoyed that its build out signals something far more significant, OrbisEnergy said.

The supply chain, business bodies, politicians and investors are right to take it as a certain sign that prospects are rosy for the future of offshore wind in the East of England – and the massive and widespread economic benefits it will bring for the communities for decades to come.

For OrbisEnergy, the East Anglia One consent was a clear government commitment to view the East of England as the UK’s chosen offshore wind farm powerhouse for the future. This industry will support tens of thousands of high quality jobs, with East Anglia One alone generating around 3,000 jobs.

Infrastructure, support operations and skills for a vibrant offshore wind industry will continue to grow there in coming months and will continue to expand in the East of England for decades to come.

OrbisEnergy said it had seen a surge in interest for office space and tenancy for companies seeking to be at the heart of the industry and centre of the action. “We can now look forward to those wind farms that missed out in the first auction bidding again and winning.” 

“All eyes are now on RWE Innogy’s Galloper, not among the winners of the first Contracts for Difference auction, with hope – and a strong belief – that it will be developed under the UK’s outgoing Renewables Obligation (RO) support mechanism.”

As Dudgeon and East Anglia Array One take shape alongside the established Greater Gabbard and Sheringham Shoal, with other planning approvals in place for further offshore farms, the long-term prospects also look good for Race Bank and Triton Knoll.

“We have seven offshore wind farms, totaling 4.6GW, that have secured Contracts for Difference with Beatrice, two at Hornsea, Walney and Burbo Bank, and most recently Neart Na Gaoithe and East Anglia One, in addition to the 1.7GW that could still be developed under the RO model.

“If we look at what is consented, it adds up to another 4.7 GW of offshore wind power and another 5.2GW is in planning stages. That’s a whopping 11GW of offshore wind projects either with CfD agreements, planning consent or the ability to build out under the RO.”

Jonathan Cole said as much last month when he faced the industry at the East of England Energy Group’s flagship conference about the southern North Sea SNS2015.

“There are 15 years of growth in East Anglia just in our project alone,” he said. “If you have the area with a large quantity of projects that lend themselves to standardisation, you are perfectly placed to drive costs of offshore wind down.”

Image: OrbisEnergy