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Galloper Windfarm gets £1.5 billion investment

Three companies have invested into the Galloper windfarm project, helping to secure £1.5 billion of funding. The new project partners are the UK Green Investment Bank, Siemens Financial Services and Macquarie Capital. Each of the companies will have a 25% equity in the windfarm, and they will be joining forces with RWE Innogy to move the project a step closer to reality.

Welcoming the announcement, Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom said:

“This is fantastic news for the region and the whole of the UK, reflecting the fact that we are open for business and the best place in the world to invest in offshore wind. This milestone shows how the UK’s offshore wind industry is going from strength to strength.”

Commenting on the investment from the three firms, Hans Bünting, CEO of RWE Innogy said:

“Today’s announcement is the culmination of many months of successful negotiations with our partners and investors and shows that the UK is still a strong market for offshore renewables”.

Bünting added that securing the financing from the three partners was vital for keeping the project “on track”.

In addition to its investment, Siemens will be supplying and installing 56 6 MW turbines as part of the Galloper windfarm, and they have signed up to a 15 year contract to provide ongoing maintenance.

Head of Investing for the UK Green Investment Bank, Ed Northam, described the investment as a significant milestone in the development of the UK offshore industry.

Construction work on the project, which is situated off the coast of Suffolk, will begin in November 2015. It is estimated the construction work will create approximately 800 new jobs, and when it is complete the windfarm is expected to produce enough energy to power more than 300,000 homes.

When the project is up and running, the windfarm is likely to employ 90 people to keep the site operational.

Project completion

Permission for the Galloper windfarm was first granted back in 2013; cabling work got underway in 2014. It will be situated 27 km of the Suffolk coast and it will have the capacity to create 336 MW.

In January 2016, work will begin at Sizewell beach to lay the cables and offshore construction work is scheduled to start in November 2016. The completed project will also have 6MW turbines and one substation.

When it is finalised, the Galloper windfarm will be situated near to the Greater Gabbard windfarm, which opened in 2012. The Galloper windfarm is expected to be operational from 2018.

Competition to open up in the connections market

Ofgem has announced a new code of practice aimed at regional electricity distribution networks. The announcement was made at the end of October with the purpose of increasing competition in the UK connections market.

Ofgem say that the new code of practice should help to lower the cost of businesses connecting to the grid and add that the new measures should help to enhance the quality of service customers can expect.

Statistics from Ofgem show that the electricity connections market is worth more than £500 million and thousands upon thousands of connections are made on an annual basis.

Although many independent companies were already competing against the regional electricity distribution networks remained the only providers of a number of essential services that are required to make new connections. Due to the concerns that this was limiting competition in the field, Ofgem introduced its new code of practice at the end of October

Under the new code of practice, electricity distribution networks ­- or DNOs as they are known - will have to abide by a new set of guidelines that have been set out by Ofgem.

If the electricity distribution networks don’t abide by the new code of practice, then they could face action from Ofgem.

Commenting on the announcement, Maxine Frerk, senior partner, electricity distribution, Ofgem, said:

“We want to see competition in the electricity connections market thriving. While some DNOs are helping to achieve this, many independent companies still face unnecessary delays and needless complexity.”

Frerk added that the new code of practice would enable independent companies to compete fairly throughout the UK, and it will mean businesses and other organisations will now have a choice as to who delivers its connections.

Ofgem decided to implement the Code of Practice after carrying out a review of the connections sector. It found that while some companies were making an effort to improve competition in the connections market, to further improve competition it was going to be necessary to introduce a formal, binding code in order to ensure fairness to independent companies.

Home Builders Federation welcome announcement

The decision was welcomed by Dave Mitchell of the Home Builders Federation. Mitchell explained that as home builders are increasing the number of homes built to help address U.K.’s housing crisis, it was important these new changes had been introduced to improve the speed at which new homes are connected to the grid.

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