United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Innogy beefs up Sofia ahead of auction battle

Ahead of what could be a fiercely competitive auction round in the UK, developer Innogy has boosted the capacity of its Sofia project in the North Sea.

Innogy's Sofia project would be installed 165km from the east coast of England
Innogy's Sofia project would be installed 165km from the east coast of England

The UK approved the change of the project's size from 1.2GW to 1.4GW, and allowed longer blades to be fitted, to reflect the growth of turbine capacities.

Innogy said the site would be entered in to the UK's third contract for difference (CfD) auction round, due to be launched in May.

Sofia project director David Few said the move to boost the project parametres would allow the use of "the latest generation of larger, more efficient and technologically advanced wind turbines".

Innogy can now use turbines with a rotor diameter of 288 metres, up from the 215 metres in the original consent.

The change in turbine and total project size should boost expected production from the site by 15%, the developer added.

Sofia was formerly the Teesside B project and formed part of the Dogger Bank cluster, over 150km off the UK's east coast. If successful in the upcoming CfD round, Innogy predicted a construction start date of Q3 2022.

The CfD auction for the revenue stabilisation support is expected to produce competitive results, with prices capped at £56/MWh (€64.84/MWh). Between 2-3GW could be procured.

This price is below the £57.50/MWh secured by two successful projects in the UK's second auction round awarded in September 2017.

A number of projects are in a position to place bids.

As well as Innogy's Sofia, Vattenfall could submit one or both of its Norfolk projects, the Moray West project is likely to bid, and ScottishPower could enter a next phase of its East Anglia cluster — the first 714MW phase of which is under construction, having been successful in the first auction round in 2015.

Offshore wind projects also face competition from remote island onshore wind projects.

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