European Investment Bank to fund world’s largest operational offshore wind farm
The European Investment Bank has agreed to provide £150m of long-term funding to Vattenfall for the Thanet Offshore Wind Farm.
With 100 wind turbines, each 115m tall, and a generating capacity of 300MW this is the largest offshore wind farm operating anywhere in the world. The wind farm, inaugurated in September 2010, is an important step in enabling the United Kingdom to achieve renewable energy targets and generating 15% of energy needs from renewable sources by 2020.
“The Thanet Offshore wind farm demonstrates how offshore wind can achieve economies of scale and make a significant contribution to renewable energy supply. The European Investment Bank is committed to supporting expansion of the offshore sector to increase experience and drive commercialisation of cutting edge technology.” said Simon Brooks, European Investment Bank Vice President for the United Kingdom.
“We are proud to have built the world’s largest offshore wind farm, and we are very pleased with European Investment Bank long-term funding support at attractive terms and conditions, providing an alternative to bond markets.” says Johan Gyllenhoff, Group Treasurer of Vattenfall.
Located 12km off Foreness Point, the eastern most part of Kent the entire Thanet wind farm covers 35 square kilometres. Thanet produces enough electricity to supply more than 200,000 homes with clean electricity. European Investment Bank support for the project has been dependent on fulfilment of comprehensive environmental assessments, including evaluation of the project’s potential impact on marine and birdlife.
The European Investment Bank is also expected to fund a transmission link connecting the Thanet wind farm to the national grid.
The European Investment Bank has provided key funding for development of offshore wind farms since 2002. Five large scale wind farms funded by the EIB are now operational, representing nearly 40% of the global installed capacity. Other projects supported by the EIB in UK waters include the world’s largest planned wind farm London Array.