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Orsted gives go-ahead: world's largest offshore wind project moves forward

Danish group Orsted has taken final investment decision (FID) on the world’s single largest offshore wind farm, Hornsea 3, which will have a capacity of 2.9 GW and is expected to be completed around the end of 2027. "Hornsea 3 will be Orsted’s third gigawatt-scale project in the Hornsea zone following Hornsea 1 (1.2 GW) and Hornsea 2 (1.3 GW), which are already being operated out of Orsted’s operations and maintenance hub in Grimsby," the company said in a statement.

Located in the North Sea 160km off the coast of Yorkshire and 120 km from the coast of Norfolk, will generate enough electricity to power more than 3 million homes all year round

According to the company, the UK is a key market and one of the largest in the world for offshore wind energy, thanks to strong political support and ambitious construction targets. The company currently operates 12 offshore wind farms in the country.

As explained by the company, based on a well-established supply chain and synergies with Hornsea 1 and 2, Hornsea 3 has a robust risk-reward profile and a value creation around the bottom end of our targeted lifecycle project return range of 150-300 basis points on top of our weighted average cost of capital. This reflects part of the capacity being awarded a CfD in Allocation Round 6. The possible future addition of Hornsea 4 would create an offshore wind cluster in excess of 7 GW and unlock further cluster synergies.

"We have all major contracts for Hornsea 3 in place, including an agreement with Siemens Gamesa for SG 14-236 DD offshore wind turbines, which have a capacity of 14 MW excluding power boost. Most of the capital expenditure for Hornsea 3 was contracted ahead of recent inflationary pressures, securing competitive prices from the supply chain and allowing time to work collaboratively on value creation opportunities. The larger wind turbines and the synergies with Hornsea 1 and 2 lead to lower operating costs than we have seen before in our portfolio," the company added. 

Mads Nipper, Group President and CEO of Orsted, said that "by applying our world-leading capabilities within offshore wind innovation, engineering, operations, procurement, and financing, we’ve been able to mature the world’s largest offshore wind project and take final investment decision. Offshore wind is an extremely competitive global market, so we also welcome the attractive policy regime in the UK which has helped secure this investment. We look forward to constructing this landmark project, which will deliver massive amounts of green energy to UK households and businesses and will be a significant addition to the world’s largest offshore wind cluster.” 

A welcome decision by the industry

Following Orsted's decision to proceed with the megaproject, RenewableUK’s Chief Executive Dan McGrail said that "this landmark decision enabling the biggest phase of the world’s largest consented offshore wind project to go ahead is a huge vote of confidence in Britain’s cutting-edge offshore wind industry. To put this into context, Hornsea 3 is more than double the capacity of the world’s largest operational offshore wind farm Hornsea 2, so this represents a massive step forward in terms of sheer scale.

For McGrail, the announcement also shows that the Government has been listening to the industry after the disappointment of this summer’s CfD auction which procured no new offshore wind. "The announcements made by Ministers over the last two months of more sustainable administrative strike prices, permanent full expensing for investors in green technologies and funding to support clean energy manufacturing in the UK are putting us back on track to make Britain one of the most attractive countries for international investors in offshore wind," he added.

Hornsea 3 will support up to 5,000 jobs during its construction phase, with up to a further 1,200 permanent jobs both directly and in the supply chain in the long operational phase. Hornsea 3 will be operated from Orsted’s operations and maintenance hub in Grimsby. 

Orsted has already announced a series of significant supplier contracts – including an agreement for Hornsea 3 to be the first and lead customer at SeAH Wind’s monopile factory in Teesside, underpinning SeAH’s investment decision to establish a new, globally competitive monopile factory in the UK.  



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