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Business & Economy

Bright future for approved North East offshore wind projects

Two new North East offshore wind projects have been approved by the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, ensuring the region’s renewable sector has a promising future.

Energi Coast, the North East’s offshore winder cluster, welcomed the announcement that two brand new developments will take place in the region, one at Dogger Bank and one at Sofia.

Each location was awarded a Contract for Difference — the government’s scheme for supporting low carbon energy — along with 12 other sites nationwide that will provide an additional 6GW capacity and up to 8,000 jobs for the country.

Innogy Renewables UK will run the project at Sofia, while Dogger Bank will be developed through a partnership between Equinor and SSE.

The sites secured strike prices of £39.65 (Sofia) and £41.61 (Dogger Bank), which is a guaranteed price per Megawatt hour (MWh) to be paid to wholesale generators of electricity.

The costs of offshore wind are around 30% lower than the second auction held in 2017, with projects now being delivered for rates as low as £39.65/MWh.

James Ritchie, chair of Energi Coast said: “This is a significant step forward to the UK offshore wind industry, which presents tangible opportunities for North East England’s cluster of supply chain companies that have the experience and expertise to support their delivery and operation.

“We do not underestimate the challenges this price reduction will create, but I am confident our cluster will be cost-competitive to support the delivery of these projects and we hope developers will recognise the benefit of using a proven, local supply chain.

“The innovation that companies from our cluster have brought to the industry will enable these developers to deliver sustainable offshore wind generation and ensure the sector can play its role in decarbonising the UK energy system.”