EDF grabs Blyth offshore demo
Rights at English trial zone secured from Crown Estate, ORE Catapult
EDF Energy Renewables has bought the rights to develop the up to 15-turbine Blyth offshore wind demonstration project in Northumberland, England.
The company has secured the seabed rights to the scheme near the port of Blyth from the Crown Estate and associated land rights and meteorological data from the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult.
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The site is the largest consented offshore wind testing facility in the UK and was taken through the planning process by Narec, which is now part of ORE Catapult.
EDF Energy Renewables chief executive Christian Egal said: “We’re delighted to be getting access to a UK site which, subject to a final investment decision, could give us the opportunity to further enhance our expertise in building offshore wind farms and to test new technologies.
“Offshore projects present their own unique challenges for developers and having the opportunity to install, and operate much larger machines than we’ve done previously could give us vital experience to take to other projects around the UK and other EDF sites abroad.”
Crown Estate head of offshore wind Huub Den Rooijen added: “Blyth offers an unparalleled opportunity to test new technologies capable of driving down the cost of offshore wind development and unlocking new areas of resource off our coast.
“Having an experienced developer like EDF on board is an important step towards unlocking the potential of this site, and enabling new innovations that build on the UK’s reputation as a world leader in this sector.”
EDF Energy said it has also entered into a collaboration with ORE Catapult to develop R&D projects to “tackle some of the key technology challenges facing the sector”.
ORE Catapult chief executive Andrew Jamieson said: “ORE Catapult and EDF will collaborate closely to accelerate the development of innovative technologies, driving down the cost of energy from offshore wind and benefitting the whole offshore renewables industry.”
The site at Blyth was offered to the market by the Crown Estate earlier this year to secure a developer capable of delivering an operational test project by 2016/17.
At the same time, the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult launched a competitive process for associated project elements like the grid connection, onshore land rights and wind data.
EDF is expected to make a final investment decision on building the site next year.
Image: the met mast at the Blyth demo site (Narec)