* To supply 320,000 homes with renewable energy a year
* UK plans to raise offshore capacity to 18 GW by 2020
LONDON Feb 9 A new 367 megawatt offshore
wind farm opened off the Cumbrian coast in Britain on Thursday
and will supply up to 320,000 households with renewable power a
year, the companies behind the project said.
The 1 billion pound ($1.58 billion) Walney wind farm is a
joint venture between utilities DONG Energy, SSE
and OPW, a consortium of the Dutch pension fund service
provider PGGM and Ampere Equity Fund.
The companies claim Walney is the world's biggest offshore
windfarm, with 102 wind turbines, each with a capacity of 3.6
It was the first UK offshore wind farm to receive investment
from a pension fund service provider and equity fund before it
had been built.
"This investment in clean energy is aligned with the
criteria in the investment policy for our clients and investors
and further cements our focus on expanding renewable energy as
asset class," said Dennis van Alphen, OPW director.
Britain has more than 1.5 gigawatts (GW) of installed
offshore wind power and plans to raise the capacity to 18 GW by
However, offshore wind has been criticised for being too
expensive. The government wants to reduce the price of
generating energy from offshore wind to around 110 pounds/MW
from the current 150 pounds/MW by 2020 so it can reach its
Some companies are trying to bring down the cost to make
offshore wind competitive.
"We want to industrialise the way we produce offshore wind
farms, by doing them not project by project but at a continuous
pace," Dong's chief executive Anders Eldrup told reporters on a
"We support the principle of the feed-in tariff system...as
it gives more clarity to investors, making it easier to bring
pension money into projects like this," he added, referring to a
government subsidy scheme for renewables.
Last October, the government announced that offshore wind
farms will receive subsidies until 2015, which will subsequently
be reduced by 5 percent. Onshore wind farms, which are less
costly to build, will see subsidies cut gradually by 10 percent.
More than 100 members of parliament wrote to the Prime
Minister at the weekend, urging that subsidies paid to the wind
industry are cut due to inefficient and intermittent energy
production and in a climate of economic constraint.