EON Wins U.K. Permission for 700-MW Offshore Wind Farm

EON SE won permission to build an offshore wind farm totaling 700 megawatts of generating capacity off the east coast of England, a project the government said may attract $3.4 billion of investment.

The Rampion wind farm is expected to create 750 jobs and power about 450,000 homes, the Department of Energy and Climate Change said today in an e-mailed statement. EON, Germany’s largest utility, must now make a final investment decision and decide which of two government incentive programs to apply for.

The U.K. leads the world in offshore wind power, with more than half of the planet’s installed capacity. Britain is relying on the technology to help bring down carbon emissions and meet European Union renewable energy targets, and the energy department projects the installed base will expand to about 10 gigawatts of turbines by 2020 from 3.7 gigawatts now.

“We’re driving investment in our energy security, and our plans have made us no. 1 in the world for investment in offshore wind energy,” Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey said in the statement. “This project is great news for Sussex, providing green jobs as well as driving business opportunities right across the country in a sector with a clear roadmap for long-term growth.”

The Rampion site lies 13 kilometers (8 miles) to 23 kilometers off the coast of Sussex in eastern England, according to the project’s website. The turbines will be erected in water depths of 19 meters (62 feet) to 50 meters, and the project will have 100 to 175 turbines, depending on the size of the machines chosen.

Construction of onshore facilities is due to begin next year, and EON estimates power generation will begin in 2018 or 2019.

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