RWE has taken the Financial Investment Decision on its 1.4 gigawatt (GW) flagship Sofia Offshore Wind Farm project, globally the largest offshore project in its renewables fleet. The 100% RWE-owned project represents a total investment of approximately £3billion. The company is now poised to forge ahead with the construction of Sofia, with onshore enabling works due to start this Spring and offshore construction in 2023. Final project completion is expected by Q4 2026. RWE was awarded a Contract for Difference (CfD) for Sofia in 2019, achieving a strike price of £39.65 per megawatt hour (in 2012 prices).

Sven Utermöhlen, Chief Operating Officer Wind Offshore Global, RWE Renewables said: “Taking the financial investment decision for RWE’s largest-ever offshore wind project is a great moment for the entire RWE Renewables team. Successfully developing a project of this size once again demonstrates our expertise and positive track-record for delivering cost-effective, innovative offshore wind energy around the globe. Sofia will break new ground for RWE, establishing our expertise for installing 14 megawatts turbines, the most advanced technology, further offshore. It will also provide invaluable experience that we can deploy on our new projects, especially at our two new adjacent sites on Dogger Bank, which we were recently awarded by The Crown Estate, and also our portfolio around the world.”

Tom Glover, Chief Commercial Officer RWE Renewables and RWE UK Country Chair added: “Through this decision, we strengthen our commitment to growing and investing in renewable energy in the UK, and to playing a significant part in helping deliver the UK’s ambition to grow offshore wind capacity to 40 gigawatts by 2030. Today’s milestone and the achievements to come represent successful collaboration with the local, regional and national supply chain, and the local communities with whom we are committed to continuing to work. Through our investment, Sofia presents a great opportunity for RWE to unlock long-term local jobs, and business benefits, while delivering new renewable energy for over 1.2 million UK homes every year.”

The consented project is located on Dogger Bank, 195 km from the nearest point on the UK’s North East coast. The project will have a single offshore converter platform, with the electricity generated transported via a high voltage direct current export cable to landfall 220 kilometres away in Redcar, Teesside. Sofia will require a new onshore converter station, and already has an agreed grid connection point at the existing National Grid substation in Lackenby, Teesside, seven kilometres inland. RWE is reviewing port options for the project’s long-term operations & maintenance activity.

Preferred Supplier Agreements are already in place for all of Sofia’s key suppliers and RWE will now proceed to finalise contracts with them in the coming weeks.

Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy is lined up to supply 100 of its 14 MW offshore wind turbines (SG 14-222 DD), the most advanced offshore wind turbine technology available. A specially formed consortium of GE Renewable Energy’s Grid Solutions and Sembcorp Marine is set to supply a state-of-the-art transmission system for Sofia, including two HVDC converter stations. International marine contractor Van Oord is the preferred supplier for monopile foundations as well as array cables and plans to establish a logistics hub in the UK’s North East to deliver the work. Prysmian Group is due to provide a high voltage submarine and land export cable connection, including use of its brand-new cable installation vessel Leonardo da Vinci – one of the most advanced of its kind in the world.

RWE’s UK offshore portfolio continues to expand in the UK. In addition to Sofia, the construction of RWE’s 857megawatts (MW) Triton Knoll Offshore Wind Farm (RWE’s pro-rata share: 506 MW) is highly advanced. RWE is also progressing four extension projects in the UK, with a combined potential installed capacity of around 2.6 gigawatts (GW) (RWE’s pro-rata share: 1.3 GW), and which are already engaging in public consultation. Meanwhile, the company recently successfully bid for two new adjacent offshore sites – also on Dogger Bank – with a potential total installed capacity of 3 GW in The Crown Estate’s Offshore Wind Round 4 Leasing auction.

Image source: Courtesy of RWE

Read more Wind power news here