World’s biggest offshore wind farm takes a £5.5bn step forward

SSE and Equinor have announced they have reached financial close on the first two phases of the Dogger Bank project off the coast of East Yorkshire, after securing a £5.5bn deal.

The three phase project is a joint venture by the two energy businesses that is scheduled to complete in March 2026 and to produce enough clean energy to meet for  six million UK homes each year (5% of the UK’s demand).

The latest announcement now means the first two phases, which are worth £6bn and are being financed concurrently, will now move forward with the first of these expected to be operation in 2023.

The third phase, Dogger Bank C, is being developed on a different timescale.

According to the latest announcement the project has had strong interests from lenders enabling the JV to secure competitive terms, despite the unprecedented economic circumstances of Covid-19.

Alistair Phillips-Davies, SSE chief executive, said: “We are proud to be leading on the construction and development of Dogger Bank Wind Farm, which has been 10 years in the making. We are putting our money where our mouth is on delivering net zero and reinforcing the UK’s position as a world leader. This investment will help drive a green recovery from coronavirus through the project’s construction over the next five years, creating jobs and boosting the local economy.”

Pål Eitrheim, Equinor EVP of new rnergy solutions, said: “Reaching financial close on the two first phases of Dogger Bank is a major milestone, demonstrating our commitment to profitable growth within offshore wind.

“The extensive interest from lenders, underpins the attractiveness of UK offshore wind assets and confidence in SSE and Equinor. As the wind farm’s future operator, we are proud to take this big step forward in delivering what will be the backbone of a growing wind hub in the North Sea. Through the sheer scale of the project we have delivered record-low contract prices for the UK market, and as operator of the wind farm we will continue to deliver value to the UK for years to come.”

SSE Renewables is leading the construction of the 3.6 GW project (three 1.2GW phases), which are lcoated 130km off the coast of East Yorkshire, and once complete Equinor will lead on the wind farm’s operations.

This is Norwegian firm, Equinor’s, latest renewables project in Yorkshire having announced plans in July to deliver one of the world’s first at-scale facilities to produce hydrogen from natural gas in combination with carbon capture and storage (CCS) in Hull. It is also part of the Northern Endurance Partnership (NEP) that is looking to develop offshore carbon dioxide (CO2) transport and storage infrastructure in the UK North Sea.

Onshore construction is currently underway for Dogger Bank A and Dogger Bank B, with offshore construction for Dogger Bank A due to begin in Q2 2022. For both phases, onshore and offshore cable and all turbine foundations will be installed by 2023. First power is expected in Summer 2023 and Summer 2024 for Dogger Bank A and B, respectively, with commercial operations to begin the following year.