Greater Gabbard OFTO, owned by Balfour Beatty Investments, Equitix and AMP Capital Investors, has received a £317m (€380.7m) offshore transmission licence from UK energy regulator Ofgem for the Greater Gabbard offshore wind farm.
The licence will enable Greater Gabbard OFTO to own and operate the transmission link to the 500MW offshore wind power project.
The Greater Gabbard offshore transmission owner (OFTO) project, a high-voltage transmission system, connects the wind farm off the coast of Suffolk to the onshore transmission grid.
The transmission assets feature two offshore substation platforms and an onshore substation. The offshore connection points are located on the two offshore platforms, located within the boundaries of the project.
The transmission project, which is the first OFTO project to be funded through capital markets, is claimed to be the first UK project to make use of the EIB Project Bond Credit Enhancement (PBCE) product.
The PBCE product, which reduces the investment risk, enables infrastructure projects including the Greater Gabbard OFTO to attract additional private finance from institutional investors, such as insurance companies and pensions funds.
Greater Gabbard OFTO has been appointed by Ofgem to assume ownership of the link from Greater Gabbard Offshore Winds, jointly owned by SSE renewables and RWE npower renewables.
Ofgem E-Serve managing director Robert Hull said the deal offers further evidence of the benefits to consumers of opening up the offshore transmission market to competition.
Hull said: "We are delighted our tender has enabled the first project in the UK to utilise the EIB's PBCE product, confirming the OFTO regime's status as an established infrastructure asset class.
"The offshore regime has now secured more than £1.4bn of investment to date, leading to benefits to consumers through the competitive regime."
The developer Greater Gabbard Offshore Winds started construction of the Greater Gabbard wind power project in 2008 and inaugurated it in August 2013.
The project features 140 3.6MW Siemens wind turbines and can generate enough clean energy to power around 530,000 homes.
Earlier in 2008, Siemens Energy was awarded a €800m contract to supply wind turbinesm along with a five-year service and warranty agreement.
Image: Ofgem grants offshore transmission licence to Greater Gabbard OFTO. Photo: courtesy of RWE.