UK awards Gabbard wind link licence

A consortium including Balfour Beatty has won the licence to own and run the £317m ($512m) transmission link to the UK’s Greater Gabbard offshore wind farm.

UK regulator Ofgem awarded the licence to Greater Gabbard OFTO – comprising Balfour Beatty, Equitix and AMP Capital Investors – after a competitive tender.

The consortium will take over the link to the 504MW Greater Gabbard plant, off Eastern England, from wind farm development partners SSE and RWE.

Ofgem said Greater Gabbard is the first Offshore Transmission Owner (OFTO) project to be funded via the capital markets.

It is also the first UK project make use of the European Investment Bank’s (EIB's) Project Bond Credit Enhancement scheme. That is designed to help projects such as the wind link attract additional investment from institutions such as pension funds.

Robert Hull, Ofgem E-Serve managing director said: "This deal provides further evidence of the benefits to consumers of opening up the offshore transmission market to competition, and ensuring we get best value from innovation in the funding markets.”

Greater Gabbard began operations in late 2012.