A 50-50 joint venture between SSE and RWE Innogy, the £1.6bn project was ten years in the making and pushed the boundaries of developing larger scale offshore wind farms in more challenging, deeper and more distant waters. Now, with all 140 turbines generating, the wind farm is capable of providing enough clean energy to power over 500,000 homes*.
During his visit to the Lowestoft base, hosted by SSE Chief Executive Alistair Phillips-Davies and RWE Innogy Chief Executive Dr Hans Bünting, the minister will meet some of the people behind the construction and successful operation of the wind farm. He will also tour the site and learn how innovation is improving efficiency and driving down operation costs, including a demonstration of how remote controlled aerial vehicles are being used for turbine and equipment inspections.
SSE’s Managing Director, Renewables, Jim Smith, says today’s visit represents a major milestone for what has been a pioneering project.
Greater Gabbard in numbers
- £1.6bn investment in UK energy infrastructure
- 140 turbines
- 23km off the Suffolk coast
- 530,000 homes supplied with clean energy
- Over 8 million working hours on the project
- 175km of buried inter-array cables
- Three 45km export cables bring power onshore
- £1.5m spent transforming Waveney fish market into an operational base
- 100 people employed in the operation at Lowestoft
- 95% of employees based in the local area
- £450,000 of funding provided to the local community
10 years of development
2003 – Awarded development rights by The Crown Estate (Round Two)
2007 – Planning permission granted
2008 – Onshore construction work begins around Sizewell
2009 – Lowestoft announced as operations centre; offshore construction begins
2011 – First two turbines produce power to the National Grid
2012 – All 140 turbines commissioned and energised
2013 – Wind farm officially opened by Rt Hon Michael Fallon MP, Energy Minister
* Based on site specific met mast data indicating a load factor of at least 40%, and based on household consumption of 3,300kWh a year