Norwegian energy companies, Statoil and Statkraft, have agreed to buy the up to 560MW Dudgeon offshore wind farm, a project that has been developed by Warwick Energy. Statoil will hold a 70% stake, whith Statkaft acquiring the remaining 30%.
Commenting on the deal, Warwick project director, Mark Petterson, said: "With the consenting phase of the project nearing completion, and the technical work maturing well, the main challenge for the Dudgeon project was the ability to attract the construction funding required in these difficult times. With their financial resources, their technical expertise and recent local experience, we are sure that Statoil and Statkraft will do an excellent job completing the Dudgeon project".
As recently reported by Windpower Offshore, Statkraft has been openly on the look-out for another UK offshore wind project and Dudgeon has attracted interest from a large number of potential investors. Warwick also developed Barrow and Thanet offshore wind farms.
Explaining Statoil's thinking behind the purchase, senior vice president for renewable energy, Siri Kindem, said: "The acquisition is in line with Statoil's strategy...to seek new business opportunities in offshore wind as part of the development of our renewable energy portfolio."
Meanwhile, Statkraft emphasised the importance of using Dudgeon as an opportunity to reduce the cost of offshore wind development. "The acquisition is an important step in Statkraft's plan to build an industrial position in offshore wind power... combining Statkraft's experience as Europe's largest renewable energy producer with Statoil's experience and technology from offshore installations will enable us to drive down costs," said senior vice president for offshore wind power, Olav Hetland.
Dudgeon is planned for a site 32km off the Norfolk town of Cromer and just 20km another recently-completed offshore wind farm also owned by Statoil and Statkraft, the 317MW Sheringham Shoal project.
The project's new owners say they will focus on securing final consents and "engage with suppliers and local stakeholders", before reaching a final investment decision. Statoil will lead the Dudgeon project team.
ABB has already been named as the electricity infrastructure contractor for Dudgeon, while shortlists have been drawn up for turbine and foundation suppliers.
As recently reported by Windpower Offshore, as yet there is little incentive for companies such as Statoil and Statkraft to develop offshore wind projects in Norwegian waters. Instead, Norway's offshore wind players are working internationally, with a strong focus thus far on the UK.