Centrica gains government consent for second generation offshore wind farm

Centrica plc, the parent company of British Gas, today announced that its proposed 250 Mega Watt (MW) offshore wind farm project, off the Lincolnshire coast, has received official consent. The Lincs project would, subject to investment approval, be capable of supplying around 170,000 British Gas customers and delivering CO2 savings of between 300,000 and 710,000 tonnes per annum.1

Government approval to build Lincs, 8 kilometres off the coast east of Skegness, follows the submission last year of a detailed application for consent, including a full environmental statement. If built, it would be situated next to the company's recent offshore wind farm developments at Lynn and Inner Dowsing2, currently the biggest offshore wind farm development in the world.

Centrica acquired the Lincs project in 2003 from wind farm developer Renewable Energy Systems (RES), which was responsible for the initial proposal. Centrica has retained the services of RES under development services agreements.

The construction and commissioning of the 194 MW Lynn and Inner Dowsing wind farms has taken Britain in to the lead in the world offshore wind stakes, bringing UK installed capacity to a total of 597 MW.

The major construction work is now complete and 45 of the 54 3.6 MW turbine generators are now commissioned and exporting power to the National Grid. This is done via six export cables that link the two wind farms to shore and the newly constructed substation in Middlemarsh, Skegness.

The work at Lynn and Inner Dowsing is continuing and it is expected that both wind farms will be fully operational around the end of the year.

Centrica is also exploring the opportunities for two further wind farms in the Greater Wash at Docking Shoal and Race Bank, totalling 1000 MW, and anticipates submitting applications for their consent in due course. Subject to approval and construction, by the middle of the next decade these three projects, together with its existing operational wind assets, would give Centrica more than 1.6 GW of generating capacity in the UK, capable of meeting the annual needs of more than 1.1 million homes.

Sam Laidlaw, Chief Executive of Centrica, said: "We're already the UK's greenest energy supplier and wind will continue to play an important role in our renewable generation strategy. The significant investments we have made in wind for British Gas customers to date have contributed significantly towards meeting the Government's challenging targets for renewable generation3."