U.K. Needs Europe for $21 Billion North Sea Wind Hub, SSE Says

  • SSE and Statoil to develop 3.6 gigawatts at Dogger Bank
  • Complex talks should not stand in the way of cooperation: CEO

The U.K. should continue to partner with the rest of Europe on infrastructure projects, including a giant wind farm in the North Sea, no matter what the outcome of Brexit talks.

Maintaining a good relationship with Europe is crucial for the development of the 15 billion-pound ($21 billion) Dogger Bank projects, according to Perth, Scotland-based SSE Plc. The sites more than 80 miles (129 kilometers) off northeast England will host as many as 800 turbines that could generate electricity for Britain, Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands and Norway.

“The U.K. and EU should continue to collaborate on delivering large, ambitious energy projects for mutual benefit,” SSE Chief Executive Officer Alastair Phillips-Davies said. The North Sea “has unfulfilled renewable energy potential that should be harnessed.”

Political talks are tense as Europe cranks up the pressure on Britain to agree the terms of the transition period that is due to come into force after Brexit in March 2019. The energy industry is keen to ensure that markets continue to remain connected to Europe via electricity cables and gas pipelines and that the U.K. remains committed to climate change targets.

“These are complex matters, but the sooner the parties to the negotiations on the future U.K.-EU relationship on energy are able to agree a way forward, the better it will be for efforts to take forward the next stages in decarbonising our economy,” Phillips-Davies said.

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SSE has entered a joint venture with Norwegian Statoil ASA to develop three wind projects in the Dogger Bank area of the North Sea potentially spanning 600 turbines with a total capacity of 3.6 gigawatts. Innogy SE may build a fourth project at the site, which may be connected to nearby European nations.

SSE’s projects could cost 11 billion pounds, according to an estimate by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The final price tag will depend on future subsidies, said Tom Harries, an analyst at BNEF.

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