Danish energy giant DONG Energy and Scottish Power Renewables have agreed to go ahead with the construction of a 108-turbine wind farm in the Irish Sea, with an operational base in Barrow-in-Furness.
The West of Duddon Sands offshore wind farm will be a 50:50 partnership between the two businesses and cost £1.6bn to build. In a joint statement, DONG and SPR said: "When the wind farm goes into operation, these assets will be sold to an offshore transmission operator, selected by Ofgem, and the costs of the transmission assets will be returned."
The production from West of Duddon Sands is expected to be equivalent to 300,000 British households annual electricity consumption. It will consist of 108 Siemens 3.6MW turbines and have a total capacity of 389MW. This will make it among the largest offshore wind farms in the world at the time of commissioning in 2014.
Keith Anderson, chief executive of Scottish Power Renewables, said: "West of Duddon Sands will be the first offshore wind project in our pipeline to be commissioned, and marks the start of our extensive investment programme in the offshore wind sector.
"We've been working with DONG on this project for many years now and we look
forward to continuing this partnership throughout the construction and the
operation of the wind farm."
The Irish Sea is one of UK's most important wind power hubs. This position will be further strengthened by the construction of West of Duddon Sands. The wind farm will be adjoining DONG Energy's Walney 1 and 2 wind farms. These two wind farms will be commissioned in 2011 and have a total capacity of 367 MW.
Stuart Klosinski of Furness Enterprise said: "Barrow has already demonstrated its capability to act as a long term through operational life support base for DONG's other Irish Sea investments. This new long-term investment in Barrow demonstrates that international energy companies see Barrow as the Gateway to Britain's Energy Coast and the premier location in Cumbria for servicing offshore wind farms.
"Firms such as Wildcat Marine, which supplies crew boats, electrical systems integration provided by Agrilek and base services support offered by Mike Batty's Plans Drawn and Barrow's Neil Martin Construction can deliver cost benefits for the construction, operations and maintenance of the new development."
He concluded "The Waterfront Barrow in Furness Business Park, which lies next to the quayside at the Port of Barrow, offers companies keen to support the joint venture's newest investment, a prime location for doing so effectively, whilst tapping into the skills base of south Cumbria."