Energy giant Centrica has today announced that it is to begin construction of the UK's largest offshore wind farm at its Lynn and Inner Dowsing sites off the Lincolnshire coast in a move the company said would bolster its position as the country's greenest major energy supplier.
Centrica, the parent company of British Gas, said that work on the £300m project would begin in the spring after the company signed a contract with Siemens Power Generation which will see it deliver 54 3.6MW turbines in the Wash.
It added that the new wind farm, which will be capable of supplying clean electricity to around 130,000 homes - the number found in a town the size of Reading - and will save 500,000 tonnes of CO2 every year, is scheduled for completion by the end of 2008.
The latest investment is part of a wider strategy for Centrica to increase its use of offshore wind power with the company having also recently applied for planning permission to develop another 250MW wind farm in the Wash. It also holds a 50 percent stake in the Barrow offshore wind farm and also announced it will become a 50 per cent partner in the onshore Braes of Doune wind farm in central Scotland, which recently generated its first power.
Sam Laidlaw, chief executive of Centrica, said the latest investment "underlines our commitment to supplying British Gas customers with an increasing proportion of renewable electricity in the years ahead".
The new wind farm will also bolster British Gas' ability to offer corporate customers green tariffs, which has been recently hamstrung by high demand for renewable energy schemes.
Speaking to GBN recently, Simon Wallwork, SME energy products manager for British Gas Business, admitted that corporate demand for renewable energy was outstripping the company's supply. "We have allocated all our green energy [for large corporate customers] out," he said. "The number of people asking for it is greater than the amount we have. We're sold out and we're unable to service any more requests for [climate] levy exempt energy until the next round comes through or some contracts expire."
He added that British Gas was working to meet this demand by investing £750m in renewable energy sources over the next few years.
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