Six to bid for Duddon grid assets

West of Duddon Sands' transmission assets are worth an estimated £311m

West of Duddon Sands' transmission assets are worth an estimated £311m

Six contenders have qualified to bid for the offshore grid linking Dong and ScottishPower's 389MW West of Duddon Sands wind project, including two new players who have not previously competed for UK offshore transmission assets.

To date, all six 20-year licenses awarded to operate offshore links have gone to two players – Transmission Capital Partners and Blue Transmission

That duopoly, as well as the terms offered to bidders, led an influential group of Members of Parliament to last month criticise the Offshore Transmission Owner (OFTO) regime as being uncompetitive and representing poor value for British taxpayers. 

UK energy-market regulator Ofgem seized on the inclusion of two new players – John Laing Investments and Skanska – as evidence that such criticism is off the mark. 

“The strong interest in competing for the West of Duddon Sands transmission assets is further proof that the offshore regime is successfully encouraging investment, attracting new players and ensuring competition in the offshore transmission sector,” says Ofgem E-Serve managing director Robert Hull.

The bidders for the West of Duddon Sands transmission assets, worth an estimated £311m ($474m), are:

*Balfour Beatty Equitix consortium.

*Blue Transmission – comprising Macquarie Capital Group, Barclays Infrastructure Funds Management, Mitsubishi Corporation and Frontier Power

*John Laing Investments

*National Grid Offshore

*Skanska 

*Transmission Capital Partners – comprising Transmission Capital Partners Limited Partnership and International Public Partnerships

In the next step, Ofgem will short-list a handful of companies invited to formally bid on the links. Ofgem is currently undertaking the second “transitional” OFTO tender, worth a collective £1.4bn.

The third, so-called “enduring” tender will commence later this year.

West of Duddon Sands is due to enter service in the Irish Sea in 2014.

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