Ofgem has commenced the sixth tender round of the offshore transmission owner (OFTO) regime.

The regulator has invited bids to own and operate the grid connections for three offshore windfarms with a combined capacity of more than 2.5GW. The assets are worth roughly £2 billion in total.

The three windfarms are: the 1.2GW Hornsea One project off the coast of Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, the 588MW Beatrice project off the coast of Scotland and the 714MW East Anglia One project off the coast of Norfolk.

All three are still under construction. Hornsea One will become the largest offshore windfarm in the world when it is commissioned in 2020.

Ofgem executive director for systems and networks Jonathan Brearley said: “Tendering ownership of links to offshore windfarms has already proven to be a successful way of connecting cleaner electricity generation to the networks at a lower cost for consumers. It is also a boost for competition as it attracts new players into the energy market.

“Over the next decade we plan to open up high value onshore grid upgrades to competition so that we continue to drive down network costs for consumers.”

The tenders will open at the end of October.

The regulator said winning bidders have so far invested £3 billion in the transmission connections for 4.6GW of offshore windfarms since the regime was launched in 2009. It claimed the scheme has saved at least £700 million for consumers across the first three tender rounds.

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