RWE 'taking stock' at Galloper

RWE is facing a barrage of concerned calls from potential suppliers for the 340MW Galloper offshore wind farm, after SSE today revealed its intention to walk away from the project.

“We’ve been contacted by a lot of potential suppliers this morning – they’re asking us what [SSE’s announcement] means for the project, will the project carry on,” RWE Innogy UK spokesman Stephen Thomas tells Recharge.

“The honest answer is we need to take stock, we need to review the project.”

As a consented but still development-stage project, few firm contracts have been announced in relation to Galloper, which is located off the coast of eastern England, and was downsized late last year from 504MW.

France’s Areva is understood to been in the frame to supply its 5MW turbines to the project, and earlier this year Galloper’s developers confirmed that Lowestoft would act as the O&M base upon the project’s completion.

SSE only yesterday informed RWE of its "very disappointing" decision to walk away from Galloper, Thomas says. Galloper is widely seen as a key near-term project in the UK pipeline.

“Meetings and discussions are taking place right now. Hopefully sooner rather than later we’ll be able to develop a clearer picture of what this means,” he says. “There’s a load of unanswered questions at the minute.”

Meanwhile, in a conference call this morning, SSE chief executive Alistair Phillips-Davies said the utility “might have made a different decision” on Galloper had the project been awarded an early Contract for Difference.

Earlier this year the UK government revealed that just four offshore wind projects – Hornsea, Dudgeon, and extensions to Burbo Bank and Walney – had been shortlisted for an early CfD, in a significant blow for near-term projects that failed to make the cut.

Phillips-Davies explains that SSE is sticking with its 375MW Beatrice project – but not with Galloper – because Beatrice slated for a later construction, allowing for the use of larger next-generation turbines.

“Beatrice is at a stage where we can engineer it with much bigger turbines and on a different cost basis to Galloper,” Phillips-Davies says.

“We’ve got the opportunity to look at Siemens, Areva, Mitsubishi – much bigger 6, 7, 8MW machines – that will give us the economies of scale that may well make that project work.”