British Gas starts construction on UK's largest offshore wind farm

British Gas’s parent company, Centrica, today signalled the start of construction on the UK’s largest offshore wind farm development by making a major investment in offshore wind turbines at its Lynn and Inner Dowsing sites in the Greater Wash, off the Lincolnshire coast.

British Gas has the lowest carbon intensity of any major energy supplier, and this investment will enhance that position. Centrica is entering into a contract with Siemens Power Generation to supply fifty-four 3.6MW turbines for the 180MW development, enabling a range of other related contracts to progress. The project is expected to cost approximately £300 million in total.

Construction work is scheduled to commence for the offshore site, three miles off the coast, in spring 2007, with onshore work to connect the power generation cable in Lincolnshire already ongoing. The project, which will be capable of supplying clean electricity to around 130,000 homes – the number found in a town the size of Reading – and will save 500,000 tonnes of CO2 every year, is scheduled for completion by the end of 2008.

Lynn and Inner Dowsing will add 180MW of installed capacity to Centrica’s power generation portfolio, which comprises the largest fleet of gas fired power stations and one of the largest portfolios of undeveloped offshore wind sites. The company is already a 50 per cent partner in Barrow Offshore Wind, the UK’s equal largest offshore wind farm. In January it applied for planning consent to develop the 250MW Lincs project, also in the Greater Wash.

Centrica has also announced it will become a 50 per cent partner in the onshore Braes of Doune wind farm in central Scotland, which recently generated its first power, taking the UK’s total installed wind capacity above 2000MW. Braes of Doune is currently in its commissioning phase, with completion expected during spring 2007.

Sam Laidlaw, Chief Executive of Centrica, said: “As the UK’s greenest energy supplier, this investment underlines our commitment to supplying British Gas customers with an increasing proportion of renewable electricity in the years ahead.

“Together with our existing gas fired generation and clean coal options, our investments in wind power will play a real part towards helping the UK move towards a low carbon energy mix.”