Masdar inaugurates world’s largest offshore wind farm
Masdar, Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company, inaugurated its third wind farm in the United Kingdom, bringing the combined power generating capacity of all three projects to 1 gigawatt (GW) – enough clean energy to supply nearly 1 million homes. Together with its partners Statoil and Statkraft of Norway, Masdar staged the official “switch on” of the 402-megawatt (MW) Dudgeon Offshore Wind Farm, located 32 kilometres off the Norfolk coast in England.
Masdar is a 35 per cent shareholder in Dudgeon alongside Statoil (35%) and Statkraft (30%). Comprising 67 wind turbines, Dudgeon is now supplying around 410,000 UK homes – in one of the largest deployments of 6MW wind turbines, the most powerful on the market. Dudgeon joins Hywind Scotland, the world’s first floating wind farm, which Masdar also developed with Statoil, and the London Array, still the world’s largest offshore wind farm currently in operation at 630MW. The wind farm’s 6MW Siemens turbines utilise “direct-drive” technology as opposed to a conventional gearbox system, improving their reliability.
“As part of our strategy to develop from a traditional oil and gas company to a diversified energy provider, Statoil will grow significantly in renewable energy, with an ambition to invest around NOK100 billion (AED44.53 billion) over the next few years,” said Eldar Sætre, CEO of Statoil. “Dudgeon is a key part of this strategy to complement our oil and gas portfolio with profitable renewable energy solutions, as well as adding to Statoil’s strong UK presence.”
The development of the Dudgeon Offshore Wind Farm achieved a number of industry milestones, including the delivery of the UK’s longest underground onshore electricity cable, which runs 48 kilometres from the coastal town of Weybourne to the project’s substation in Necton. Financial close of the project was achieved in just six months, with the developers securing limited recourse financing of GBP1.3 billion (AED6.32 billion) in May 2016; Dudgeon is the first UK offshore wind project to obtain financing under the UK government’s ‘Contract for Difference’ (CfD) scheme.
Since announcing its acquisition of a 35 per cent stake in Dudgeon in September 2014, Masdar has grown its wind energy portfolio to include the Middle East’s first utility-scale wind farm (Tafila in Jordan), the largest wind project in the West Balkans (Čibuk 1), and Hywind Scotland, the world’s first commercial-scale floating wind park, unveiled last month in the presence of Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.