Global wind and solar company Mainstream Renewable Power today secured a fifteen year Contract for Difference (CfD) from National Grid for its 450 megawatt Neart na Gaoithe offshore wind farm located in the Outer Forth Estuary in the North Sea. The CfD, which was awarded to Mainstream under a competitive tendering process, gives the wind farm an inflation-linked strike price for the electricity it produces for a period of fifteen years.
The wind farm, which was awarded planning consent in October 2014, is expected to be generating electricity and fully commissioned by 2020. Mainstream will sign the CfD contract next month and will then proceed towards a Final Investment Decision in Q1 2016. Funding for the project is well advanced, having pre-qualified for the Infrastructure UK Treasury Guarantee and the new €315bn European Fund for Strategic Investments. The company will make lead bank appointments in the coming weeks.
Energy & Climate Change Secretary, Ed Davey said: “This world leading auction has delivered contracts for renewables projects right across the UK. These projects could power 1.4 million homes, create thousands of green jobs and give a massive boost to home-grown energy while reducing our reliance on volatile foreign markets. The auction has driven down prices and secured the best possible deal for this new clean, green energy.”
Andy Kinsella, Chief Operating Officer for Mainstream Renewable Power said: “Mainstream is delighted to have been awarded this contract today and we look forward to getting the wind farm construction-ready over the coming months in partnership with Siemens and GeoSea. What’s unique about this project is that it will be the first time a UK offshore wind farm of this scale will be built using project finance alone. Today’s announcement is the result of seven years of dedication and demonstrates Mainstream’s world-class expertise in project development, engineering and finance.”
This will be the first large-scale offshore wind farm constructed and operated in Scottish waters to be directly connected to the Scottish electricity system. The 450 megawatt wind farm will have the capacity to deliver enough power for 325,000 homes (more than the number of homes in Edinburgh) and equal to 3.7% of Scotland’s total electricity demand.
Mainstream Renewable Power was awarded exclusivity by The Crown Estate in 2009; The NnG site was deemed suitable for the development of offshore wind by the Scottish Government’s Strategic Environmental Assessment in 2011; NnG secured its grid connection in 2010; and an Agreement for Lease was reached with The Crown Estate in 2011.