World's cheapest offshore wind farm set for early start

Vattenfall has accelerated work on a Danish offshore wind farm, saying it will deliver record-low power prices for the technology when the project is finished in 2018, two years ahead of its previous plan.

The state-owned Swedish utility last week reached a final investment decision on the Horns Rev III wind park that will cost “just over” €1 billion (Dh4.16bn). At that cost, the wind farm would produce for about €2.5 million a megawatt – the cheapest to date worldwide for offshore wind, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

MHI Vestas Offshore Wind will supply 50 of its giant 8MW turbines to the project, the Danish company said. The rotors of the V164-8.0MW turbines – the world’s biggest offshore machines – cut a 164 metre swath, with a single blade measuring 80 metres, about the wingspan of an Airbus A380 superjumbo jet.

Vattenfall won the contract from the government in February 2015 to deliver power with a feed in tariff of 0.77 Danish kroner (Dh0.44) a kilowatt hour, according to the Danish Energy Agency. The project could become the first to beat the industry’s €100 a megawatt hour target when it is commissioned in late 2018. The company, whose headquarters is in Solna, Sweden, earlier forecast completion by 2020.

The low cost is “a direct result of a move to highly competitive auctions but also the fact that Vattenfall do not have to pay for the offshore transmission”, said Tom Harries, an analyst for Bloomberg New Energy Finance., the Danish transmission systems operator, will build and fully fund all the project’s grid assets.

“Horns Rev III is a real milestone for us, it clearly shows that competition is a suitable way to reduce costs for offshore wind significantly,” said Magnus Hall, the president and chief executive of Vattenfall.

Horns Rev III will also be cheaper than other projects because it is located near shore, in sandy conditions that are not too deep, said Christina Sorensen, a senior partner at Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners.

“The Horns Rev III project will set a new milestone for affordable offshore wind power, and we look forward to working with Vattenfall on delivering that goal,” said the MHI Vestas Offshore chief executive Jens Tommerup.

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