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Green light for Greater Gabbard wind farm

A wind farm with the power to supply clean electricity to over 415,000 homes, more than all the demand in Suffolk, will be confirmed by Alistair Darling, Secretary of State for Trade and Industry today.

The Greater Gabbard (GG) scheme supplying 500MW through 140-turbines will cut CO2 emissions by 1.5m tonnes a year – the equivalent of taking 350,000 cars off the road. The project is being developed by the companies Airtricity and Fluor.

It will be placed close to two shallow sandbanks – the Inner Gabbard and the Galloper – around 23km (12 miles) from the Suffolk coast. The sites will occupy an area of nearly 150 square kilometres within the outer Thames Estuary strategic wind farm area.

Mr Darling said: “We need more renewable energy as part of the mix of generation of electricity. It cuts emissions while powering homes.

“We are seeing this industry grow by the day. Only two weeks ago we reached the 2GW wind energy landmark, it took more than 10 years to get the first GW less than 20 months to get the second.

“It is a key part of our approach, we will continue to back it.”

Climate Change Minister Ian Pearson said:

“We must start moving towards a zero carbon economy now, which involves a significant increase in the uptake of clean technologies, especially renewable energy. Projects like this that expand our capacity to generate clean electricity will play a major role in helping to reduce the UK’s carbon dioxide emissions by 60% by 2050. ”

Commenting on the project, Eddie O’Connor, Airtricity CEO said:

“This is a great boon for the United Kingdom. When the wind blows, free generation replaces generation that costs. Wind reduces risk because the cost of the power offered will be fixed in price and offers price benefits for the consumer. Such large-scale offshore wind provides consistent power and will push down the prices for fossil fuels. This price decrease is caused by the diminishment in demand for fossil fuels, something we’ve seen frequently in Northern Europe. Greater Gabbard will save money as well as contributing to the amount of electricity generated from emissions free sources.”

Fluor’s Managing Director, Patrick Flaherty said:

“We are pleased to have achieved this important milestone and we look forward to working with all involved stakeholders to progress the project to financial close during 2007 so that we can begin the construction works in time to support the government’s 2010 renewables target Greater Gabbard Offshore Winds Limited will play a vital part in supplying green electricity as part of the wider programme to produce 6-7000MW of electricity to the UK.”


Ministerial Statement


The Secretary of State for Trade and Industry has granted consent under section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989 for the construction of the Greater Gabbard offshore wind farm.

The consent is granted to Greater Gabbard Offshore Winds Limited, an Airtricity and Fluor joint venture. The development will be sited around 23km from the Suffolk coast and has the potential to generate up to 500MW of electricity.

The decision to grant consent was taken after a thorough consideration of the possible impacts of the project on a range of environmental and other issues and interests and of the advice received from a range of stakeholders, including statutory consultees on navigation and nature conservation issues. The Secretary of State concluded that the impacts envisaged by those making representations will either be of low significance or can be mitigated or avoided by the use of suitable conditions in the Electricity Act consent or in the licence for the project that is to be issued by the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs under the Food and Environment Protection Act 1985.”

Notes to Editors

* Offshore wind – There are currently five offshore wind farms operational in the UK, Scroby Sands, Kentish Flats, North Hoyle, Barrow and Blyth. 10 have received consent (includes the London Array and Thanet in the Thames Estuary consented in December) and eight are in the planning stage.

* The UK is unique in the world with a large demonstration programme of offshore wind – Round 1 – where many UK companies are learning valuable lessons in installation and development of this technology. Round 1 projects, which are typically 60 – 108 MW capacity, will collectively total up to 1.1GW. DTI is supporting these projects with £107m of capital grants.

* Round 2 is taking place in three strategic areas – the Thames Estuary, the Greater Wash, and off the coast of North Wales/North West England – and, with the potential to deliver between 5 and 7GW of secure low carbon energy, will dwarf Round 1.

* Offshore transmission regime – On 30 November 2006 the DTI and Ofgem launched a joint consultation on the licensing regime for the transmission of power from future offshore wind farms to the electricity networks. The two preferred options are:

Non-exclusive system – enabling competition between many licensed transmission owners to provide offshore grid connections.

Exclusive system – licensing a number of transmission owners in different areas to provide offshore grid connections.

For a copy of the consultation please click here: http://www.ofgem.gov.uk/ofgem/index.jsp

* Offshore wind farm decommissioning – Developers will be responsible for ensuring that their installations are decommissioned at the end of their useful life, in accordance with our international obligations. Earlier this month, the DTI published guidance on decommissioning of offshore renewable energy installations to assist developers in understanding and planning for their decommissioning obligations under the Energy Act 2004. For more details click here: http://www.dti.gov.uk/energy/sources/renewables/policy/offshore/page22500.html

* Various statutory controls apply to marine construction works in waters around England and Wales for which responsibility is vested in the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Welsh Assembly Government.

* Defra is responsible for the administration of a range of applications for statutory licences and consents to undertake works, including offshore energy, in tidal waters and beyond and works in close partnership with DTI in the consenting of offshore renewable energy generation schemes.

Department of Trade and Industry
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Client ref P/2007/38

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Department of Trade and Industry (National)


19 February 2007