ESB takes 50pc stake in major Scottish windfarm Neart na Gaoithe

28 Nov 2019190 Views

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ESB has announced a major offshore windfarm deal with EDF Renewables in Scotland.

Today (28 November), ESB announced that it will be taking a 50pc stake in Scotland’s Neart na Gaoithe (NnG) offshore windfarm project from EDF Renewables.

NnG is a key UK offshore windfarm project, with up to £1.8bn invested in its infrastructure, and ESB said that it is expected to have a significant impact on the Scottish economy.

Meaning “strength of the wind”, NnG is located off the east coast of Scotland. The site was acquired by EDF Renewables in 2018.

While ESB is a semi-state business operating in the electricity market in Ireland, it has expanded into the UK in recent years, opening an office in Glasgow in 2017. This office focuses on spearheading further development of renewables across Scotland, particularly onshore and offshore wind.

Set to be completed in 2023

The NnG windfarm has a capacity of around 450MW of low carbon energy and will offset over 400,000 tonnes of carbon emissions each year. Construction of components is now underway, with offshore construction set to begin in June 2020. It’s expected that full commissioning will be completed in 2023.

EDF Renewables also confirmed that the funding target for the project has now been reached, with 25 banks lending money to the windfarm, which will supply enough low carbon power for around 375,000 homes.

ESB chief executive Pat O’Doherty said: “Our 50pc stake in Neart na Gaoithe fits entirely with ESB’s Brighter Future strategy to build a balanced low carbon generation portfolio of scale. Offshore wind is one of the main technologies underpinning the clean electricity systems that will power our societies into the future.

“This investment in the Neart na Gaoithe project builds on significant ESB involvement in offshore wind off the Irish coast, as ESB develops its experience to assist Ireland in delivering its Climate Action Plan. We look forward to pooling our expertise with EDF Renewables in delivering this major project.”

Matthieu Hue, CEO of EDF Renewables, added: “This is a hugely important step for the project and we are excited to get work underway with our equity partner ESB and all of our contractors.

“The wind farm will play an important role in de-carbonising the UK electricity system to reach the country’s net zero targets. It is evidence of our continuing investment and growth in Scotland and it shows the ability of EDF in the UK to provide diverse solutions for electricity consumers in terms of low cost renewable energy.”

Last week, ESB also announced a partnership with Norway’s Equinor to identify suitable sites for new offshore windfarms in Irish waters.

Kelly Earley is a journalist with Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com