A final decision on whether to construct the 580MW Race Bank offshore wind farm, off England’s Lincolnshire coast, will be made early next year, according to project developer, Centrica.
The UK Round 2 offshore wind project was given final regulatory permission last week, by the UK government (Windpower Offshore 06-Jun-12).
The next significant step forward for Race Bank would be a final investment decision from Centrica, confirming its intention to proceed with the project.
Centrica’s decision on whether or not to go ahead will be influenced by the level of financial support finally awarded to offshore wind under a reassessment of renewable obligation (RO) banding, soon to be announced by the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change’s (Decc).
Speaking with Windpower Offshore, a Centrica spokesperson confirmed that RO banding is "an important factor" and that a final investment decision about Race Bank has been scheduled for early next year. If Centrica goes ahead, it is likely to commence construction quickly in order to ensure the wind farm is operational by 2017.
Meeting this deadline would allow Race Bank to avoid becoming entangled in the UK’s next-generation financial incentive programme for low-carbon energy sources, based around contracts for difference (CfDs) (Windpower Offshore 15-Jun-12).
Last month, Centrica announced details of project financing for the Lincs offshore wind farm, construction of which is almost complete (Windpower Offshore 08-Jun-12). In the case of Race Bank, Centrica could take a similar approach to Lincs, and proceed with construction long before finalising project finance.