The Dudgeon offshore windfarm is now exporting electricity to the grid after being officially opened by Statoil, Masdar and Statkraft.
The developers said the project has been delivered safely and on time for £250 million less than the original £1.5 billion budget for construction.
“Over recent years Statoil has worked hard to reduce costs, improve efficiency and increase profitability in both our oil and gas projects and our renewable projects,” said Statoil executive vice president for technology, projects and drilling, Margareth Øvrum.
“Reducing costs by more than 15 per cent, or £250 million, at Dudgeon and completing the construction phase without any serious incidents is a great achievement by all three partners.”
Located 40 miles off the coast of Norfolk, the windfarm features 67 turbines with a combined capacity of 402MW. The project was given the go-ahead in 2014 after being awarded Contracts for Difference support through the non-competitive Final Investment Decision enabling for Renewables (FIDeR) process.
Statoil chief executive Eldar Sætre said: “Dudgeon represents an important contribution to realizing the UK’s renewable energy strategy. The UK has already achieved impressive reductions in CO2-emissions with clear policies to phase out coal, and last year achieved the lowest CO2 emissions since before year 1900.
“Statoil is proud to contribute to this both by being a large supplier of natural gas and by our investments in offshore wind.”
Masdar chief executive Mohamed Al Ramahi said the opening “marks the completion of a three-year journey to deliver our third wind power project in the United Kingdom, but only the latest step in our collaboration with Statoil and Statkraft”.
“We’re proud to have played a significant role in the delivery of Dudgeon, both on the operations side and in terms of financing,” he added.
Alongside with the Green Investment Group, Statoil and Starkaft both own shares in the nearby Sheringham Shoal offshore windfarm which opened in 2012. As the operator of Dudgeon and Sheringham Shoal, Statoil says it is keen to increase collaboration between the windfarms and drive further improvements to efficiency.
Statoil is also the developer behind the Hywind floating offshore windfarm in Scotland which opened in October. Masdar bought a 25 per cent stake in the project in January. In December last year, Statkraft announced it was considering offloading its wind portfolio in the UK and the following March sold its 25 per cent stake in the Dogger Bank offshore wind project to Statoil and SSE.
Meanwhile, Ofgem has appointed a consortium made up of Transmission Capital Partners and International Public Partnerships as the preferred bidder to own and operate the high voltage transmission link for Dudgeon over the next 20 years.
The Diamond Transmission Capital consortium consisting of Mitsubishi and HICL Infrastructure Company has been named as the reserve bidder. The link is currently owned Statoil, Masdar and Statkraft.
Dudgeon is the first project to reach this stage in Ofgem’s fifth Offshore Transmission Owner (OFTO) tender round. The process was launched in October and also covers the transmission links for the Race Bank, Walney Extension, Galloper and Rampion offshore wind projects.