13km off the Sussex Coast, 116 turbines, generating enough power for around 350,000 UK homes and reducing carbon emissions by around 600,000 tonnes a year, the Rampion Offshore Wind Farm was officially opened at a ceremony in Brighton today.
The latest addition to the UK’s renewable energy future, the 400MW installation will provide a substantial source of electricity for the next 25 years, helping the country to meet environmental targets and climate change commitments.
After a three-year construction schedule involving a workforce of around 750 at peak times, Rampion – the first wind farm off theUK’s south coast – was officially opened by HerMajesty’s Lord Lieutenant of West Sussex, Susan Pyper. Students from Davison High School for Girls in Worthing, who back in 2010 won a schools competition to name the wind farm after the county flower of Sussex, were also in attendance for the unveiling of a plaque at the i360 observation tower in Brighton to commemorate the occasion.
The site which went into full operation in the spring is the first Crown Estate Round 3 project to be completed. It is owned by E.ON, Enbridge and the UK Green Investment Rampion Ltd (a consortium comprising of the Green Investment Group, Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund 5 and the Universities Superannuation Scheme).
Michael Lewis, Chief Executive of E.ON UK, said: “Wind power, both onshore and offshore, continuesto prove itself as a key part of the UK’s future energy mix and sits as a cost-effective alternative to higher carbon forms of power generation.
“Not only will Rampion play a vital role in helping the UK meet its commitment to decarbonise the energy sector but it will continue to support the local economy, sparking the regeneration of Newhaven Port, sustaining highly skilled roles including apprenticeships as well as introducing the £3.1million Rampion Fund(3) for community organisations and projects over the next decade.”
Matt Porter, Associate Director, Green Investment Group, said: ““As the UK’s world leading offshore wind fleet continues to grow in size and complexity, it’s becoming increasingly critical to match theright capital with the right project. That’s what we’ve achieved here with Rampion, enabling the first offshore wind project off the UK’s south coast to come to life.
“Projects like Rampion simply aren’t possible without the skill, dedication and vision of a huge numberof people. Together, we’ve delivered a world class development which will bring low-carbonelectricity to the UK for many years to come. We’re incredibly proud of Rampion and I hope, like its namesake, it’s a source of pride for the whole of Sussex.”
Vern Yu, Executive Vice President and Chief Development Officer of Enbridge Inc., said: “The openingof Rampion today represents a milestone for Enbridge. This project is our first offshore wind farm and a significant achievement for our company and our partners. Rampion is a key part of ourcommitment to Enbridge’s future in European offshore renewables, as we continue to progress additional investments in Germany and France.”
Offshore construction of the wind farm began in early 2016. The project achieved first generation in November 2017 and by spring this year all 116 turbines were commissioned and able to provide power to the grid. Onshore, care has been taken to ensure the South Downs chalk grassland, hedgerows and other flora and fauna is restored to its original state. This work will continue over the coming months and will continue to be monitored for the next 10 years to ensure the successful re- growth of the vegetation.
Project investment will continue into next year with the opening of a visitor centre on the Brighton seafront by summer 2019, which will house interactive displays for visitors to learn more about climate change, offshore wind energy and the Rampion story.
E.ON has invested more than £2.5 billion in renewable projects in the UK over the last decade. With the completion of the Rampion Offshore Wind Farm the company owns almost 1.2GW of renewable generation capacity in the UK and more than 6GW worldwide. www.rampionoffshore.com