A £1.9bn competitive tendering process has been launched by Ofgem for the high-powered transmission links needed to plug off-shore windmills in to the nation’s energy supply.
The energy regulator and the Department of Energy and Climate Change have administered a second round of tendering to encourage “cost-effective investment” and give companies the opportunity to own and operate the links to 2.8GW of offshore wind farms for the next two decades.
The projects are off the north-west coast – Gwynt-y-Mor near the Dee Estuary and West of Duddon Sands, close to Barrow-in-Furness.
Companies have been invited to compete for the right to own and operate the high voltage transmission links needed to connect the windmills to the national grid.
Four other wind farms will also be affected by the process: Lincs near Skegness; the London Array in the Thames Estuary; Humber Gateway, off the East Yorkshire Coast; and Race Bank in Norfolk.
Energy minister Charles Hendry said: “We have 40% of Europe’s wind and we have 11,000km of coastline. We ought to be using those resources for our future energy security, but to do this we need to get the investment in the infrastructure that will make this happen.
“I hope the second round of tendering for owning and operating the links to offshore wind farms will be as successful as the first, where investment interest was four times the necessary level.
“This competition also means savings for generators and consumers, which I very much welcome”.