Energy firm E.ON confirmed it will invest in and build the £1.3bn Rampion Offshore Wind Farm, which will be situated 13km off the Sussex coast.
It joins partners in the project, the UK Green Investment Bank plc (GIB), and means the green light has been given for full construction to begin on the 400MW capacity, 116 turbine, 72km2 wind farm.
When complete the wind farm could provide enough electricity to supply the equivalent of around 300,000 homes and reduce CO2 emissions by up to 600,000 tonnes a year.
The offshore wind farm will be visible from several coastal viewing points, including Brighton beach, Worthing beach and Birling Gap cliff top.
Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Amber Rudd, said, “This huge investment is a vote of confidence in the UK, creating local jobs, bringing business opportunities and providing clean, home-grown energy.
“The UK is the best place in the world to invest in offshore wind, thanks to the certainty the Government is able to provide to attract private finance in partnership with the Green Investment Bank.”
We’re delighted to be able to announce our construction plans and we’ll continue to keep the local community informed over the coming months and years as our onshore and offshore activities progress.Chris Tomlinson, E.ON Development Manager for the Rampion Wind Farm
E.ON UK Chief Executive, Tony Cocker, said, “This is an important milestone for what is a strategically important project for the UK. At around £1.3bn this investment by E.ON and our partners at the Green Investment Bank could be one of the biggest capital projects confirmed in Britain this year and we are proud of the leading role we are continuing to take in helping to transform the UK’s energy infrastructure.”
Shaun Kingsbury, Chief Executive of the UK Green Investment Bank plc, said, “Our investment gives the developer the confidence to begin construction on this important offshore wind project, boosting UK energy supply and generating enough power annually for around three hundred thousand homes.”
Construction of the onshore substation in Twineham is planned to start in June, closely followed by preparation works for the onshore cable route. Offshore construction will commence in early 2016 with planned completion in 2018.
To update local people of the work involved, E.ON will be holding community information events over the forthcoming weeks and months - but the dates are yet to be revealed.
Chris Tomlinson, E.ON Development Manager for the Rampion Wind Farm, said, “We’re delighted to be able to announce our construction plans and we’ll continue to keep the local community informed over the coming months and years as our onshore and offshore activities progress.”
During the planned three year offshore construction period it is estimated that around 250 to 300 jobs will be created and local vessels utilised, with 40 roles being based at the project management facility in Newhaven Port.
It is expected that a workforce of up to 100 will be needed for the onshore cable route and around a further 40 to 60 people at the onshore substation during onshore construction.
Once the wind farm is commissioned and fully operational, it is envisaged that up to 65 full time permanent jobs will be created at the operations and maintenance base.
The Rampion project remains set to become the first offshore wind farm off the south coast of England.
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