Equinor and SSE have unveiled plans to build a multi-million pound operations and maintenance base for a project that is being described as “the world’s largest offshore wind farm.”
The site for the base is located at the Port of Tyne, in the northeast England. It will serve the Dogger Bank wind farm, which will be able to provide electricity to more than 4.5 million homes in the U.K. once fully up and running.
The wind farm is a 50-50 joint venture between Norwegian energy major Equinor and SSE, which is headquartered in Scotland. It will be made up of three 1.2 gigawatt (GW) phases — Dogger Bank A, Dogger Bank B and Dogger Bank C — in the North Sea, giving it a total capacity of 3.6 GW.
SSE Renewables is leading on the construction of the wind farm, which began in January, with Dogger Bank A due to be operational by 2023. The operations and maintenance base will be built by Equinor.
“Renewable energy is one of the U.K.’s great success stories, providing over a third of our electricity and thousands of jobs,” Alok Sharma, the U.K’s secretary of state for business, said in a statement issued Wednesday.
“Projects like Dogger Bank will be a key part of ensuring a green and resilient economic recovery as well as reaching our target of net zero emissions by 2050,” he added.
According to Equinor, it’s estimated that the Dogger Bank project will trigger a total capital investment of approximately £9 billion ($11.08 billion) between 2020 and 2026. Final investment decisions on Dogger Bank A and B are set for late 2020, with a final investment decision for Dogger Bank C slated for 2021.
Wednesday also saw Scottish Power, which is part of the Iberdrola Group, announce that it had signed two agreements to develop wind farms in Scotland. The deals could lead to more than £150 million of investment.
The U.K. is already home to some large-scale offshore wind projects. These include the 659 megawatt Walney Extension facility, in the Irish Sea, which was officially opened in 2018.
The scale of that project is considerable: It is capable of powering more than 590,000 homes, has 87 turbines and covers an area of around 20,000 soccer pitches, according to Danish energy company Orsted.
European countries installed a record amount of offshore wind capacity in 2019, according to figures from industry body WindEurope.
The amount — just over 3.6 GW — marked a leap higher than 2018, when more than 2.6 GW was installed. Overall offshore capacity for European nations now stands at more than 22 GW.
WindEurope said that the U.K. was responsible for almost half of the new capacity in 2019, followed by Germany, Denmark and Belgium.