World’s Cheapest Offshore Wind Farm Seen Online Early

  • Horns Rev III will cost just over $1.12 billion to build
  • Danish wind farm will use Vestas 8-megawatt turbines

Vattenfall AB accelerated work on a Danish offshore wind farm, saying it will deliver record-low power prices for the technology when the project is finished in 2018, two years ahead of its previous plan.

The state-owned Swedish utility reached a final investment decision on the Horns Rev III wind park that will cost “just over” 1 billion euros ($1.12 billion), according to a statement Thursday. At that cost, the wind farm would produce for about 2.5 million euros a megawatt -- the cheapest to date for offshore wind, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

MHI Vestas Offshore Wind will supply 50 of its giant 8-megawatt turbines to the project, the Aarhus, Denmark-based company said in a separate statement. The rotors of the V164-8.0MW turbines -- the world’s biggest offshore machines -- cut a 164 meter (328 feet) swath, with a single blade measuring 80 meters, about the wingspan of an Airbus A380 jumbo jet.

Vattenfall won the contract from the government in February 2015 to deliver power with a feed in tariff of 0.77 Danish krone ($0.12) a kilowatt hour, according to the Danish Energy Agency. The project could become the first to beat the industry’s 100-euro a megawatt hour target when it’s commissioned in late 2018. The company, whose headquarters is in Solna, Sweden, earlier forecast completion by 2020.

The low cost is “a direct result of a move to highly competitive auctions but also the fact that Vattenfall do not have to pay for the offshore transmission”, said Tom Harries, an analyst for Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Energinet.dk, the Danish transmission systems operator, will build and fully fund all the project’s grid assets.

“Horns Rev III is a real milestone for us, it clearly shows that competition is a suitable way to reduce costs for offshore wind significantly,” said Magnus Hall, president and chief executive officer of Vattenfall in the statement.

Horns Rev III will also be cheaper than other projects because it’s located near shore, in sandy conditions that aren’t too deep, said Christina Sorensen, a senior partner at Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, in an interview.

“The Horns Rev III project will set a new milestone for affordable offshore wind power, and we look forward to working with Vattenfall on delivering that goal,” said MHI Vestas Offshore CEO Jens Tommerup said in a statement.

(Corrects subsidy rate in fourth paragraph. The story first ran on June 2.)
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