A giant wind farm will be built off the coast of Brighton after confirmation was made that funding behind the project was in place.
Energy giant E.ON today said it will invest in and build the £1.3bn Rampion Offshore Wind Farm, which will be situated 13km off the Sussex coast. Construction of the onshore substation in Twineham will begin in June.
Once fully in operation – with completion of the work expected in 2018 – the wind farm could provide enough electricity to supply the equivalent of around 300,000 homes.
The 116 wind turbines will be able to be seen from right along the Sussex coast from Birling Gap in the east to Worthing in the west.
Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Amber Rudd MP said: “This huge investment is a vote of confidence in the UK, creating local jobs, bringing business opportunities and providing clean, home-grown energy.
“The UK is the best place in the world to invest in offshore wind, thanks to the certainty the Government is able to provide to attract private finance in partnership with the Green Investment Bank.”
E.ON UK Chief Executive Tony Cocker added: “This is an important milestone for what is a strategically important project for the UK.
“At around £1.3bn this investment by E.ON and our partners at the Green Investment Bank could be one of the biggest capital projects confirmed in Britain this year and we are proud of the leading role we are continuing to take in helping to transform the UK’s energy infrastructure.”
The cash from E.ON is supplemented by fund previously awarded to the project by the UK Green Investment Bank.
Shaun Kingsbury, Chief Executive of the UK Green Investment Bank plc, said: “Our investment gives the developer the confidence to begin construction on this important offshore wind project, boosting UK energy supply and generating enough power annually for around three hundred thousand homes.”
Construction of the onshore substation in Twineham is planned to start in June, closely followed by preparation works for the onshore cable route. Offshore construction will commence in early 2016 with planned completion in 2018.
During the planned three year offshore construction period it is estimated that around 250 to 300 jobs will be created and local vessels utilised, with 40 roles being based at the project management facility in Newhaven Port.
It is expected that a workforce of up to 100 will be needed for the onshore cable route and around a further 40 to 60 people at the onshore substation during onshore construction.
Once the wind farm is commissioned and fully operational, it is envisaged that up to 65 full time permanent jobs will be created at the operations and maintenance base.
The Rampion project remains set to become the first offshore wind farm off the south coast of England.