The wind farm will be built 25 km off the Suffolk coast, the first in the UK to be built outside territorial waters. Offshore construction will begin in summer 2009. The project is worth £900M.
Gabbard will provide power for more than 415,000 homes, equivalent to Suffolk's demand from 140 wind turbines each having a rated capacity of 3.6 MW.
"This investment in Greater Gabbard is very welcome and a prime example of the increasing number of renewable projects that are now taking place across the UK," UK Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform John Hutton.
"The massive potential of the UK shoreline coupled with the right market conditions mean the UK is one of the most attractive places in the world to invest in offshore technology.
"Through the Energy Bill we are providing more financial support to offshore projects, and in the summer we will be setting out our plans to increase renewables further. Tackling climate change and securing future energy supplies is of the utmost importance and a vast expansion of both onshore and offshore wind will be central to this," he said.
The Greater Gabbard Offshore Wind Farm Project has been developed by a 50:50 joint venture between Fluor International Limited and Airtricity (acquired by Scottish and Southern in February 2008). Having successfully completed the development phase and signed the construction contract, Fluor has sold its 50 percent stake in Greater Gabbard Offshore Winds Ltd to SSE for £40M.
Turbines will be supplied by Siemens Wind Power A/S under a separate contract. Fluor will be responsible for the installation of the turbines which will be mounted on steel monopiles and transition pieces in water depths between 24 and 34 metres.
A new electricity substation is already being built on the coast near Sizewell. The wind farm will be commissioned in two phases, with the entire construction scheduled to be completed in 2011.
Fluor senior vice president Patrick Flaherty said, "We are extremely proud to be the first of the UK's round two offshore wind farm projects awarded by The Crown Estate to move into the construction phase. Greater Gabbard will make a meaningful contribution to the UK Government’s renewable energy targets."