Press release | 2016-06-06 | 01:01 AM

Step by step Vattenfall tackles low cost challenge

Kent addition to offshore wind fleet praised for innovation

Vattenfall, the operator of the innovative Kentish Flats Extension Offshore Wind Farm, is ahead on the low cost energy challenge, according to the head of the Swedish energy company’s growing wind business.

Gunnar Groebler, Vattenfall’s Vice President of Business Area Wind, highlighted important innovation on Kentish Flats Extension (KFE), 7km off Whitstable and Herne Bay, ahead of the inauguration of the 15 turbine scheme on 6 June, 2016.

Kentish Flats Extension Offshore Wind Farm (KFE) was completed late last year and Mr Groebler said that solutions to engineering challenges on KFE are helping Vattenfall towards operating a competitive, low cost, world beating fleet of offshore wind farms in the next ten years. He also said that extensions to existing wind farms offered significant cost advantages and he praised The Crown Estate for its initiative to encourage these projects in 2010.

Gunnar Groebler, Vattenfall’s Vice President of Business Area Wind, said: “Kentish Flats Extension is a relatively small scheme which punches above its weight. Novel foundations, safer and quicker installation, new procedures, longer blades: these and other innovations mean that KFE is a flag bearer for knowledge driven cost reduction. Vattenfall and the industry are ahead on the low cost energy challenge. Thanks to projects like KFE, I believe we will be competitive enough to meet the tough targets set out by the UK Government.”

He added: “Building extensions, like KFE, also offers significant cost advantages to the industry and I am sure we will see more of these around Europe. The Crown Estate should be praised for its initiative to encourage schemes like KFE. The extensions leasing round plugged a pipeline gap in the UK but crucially it allowed developers to improve on existing assets. We have grabbed that chance at KFE.”

Last week, Vattenfall signalled further growth in its wind business gave the green light to a €1bn invest in the low cost Horns Rev 3 offshore wind farm, in Danish waters.

Recent industry statistics show offshore wind contributing 5% of UK demand in 2016. This is set to double by 2020, according to industry association RenewableUK[i]. Recently, the Energy Secretary, Amber Rudd, said that if the cost of generation continues to fall in offshore wind the UK Government will support the further doubling of capacity to around 20GW by 2030[ii].

Vattenfall operates KFE, the 11-year old, 90MW Kentish Flats and the 300MW Thanet Offshore Wind Farm out of its base at Ramsgate Harbour. The three wind farms’ 145 turbines are maintained by 60 locally employed staff, most of whom are skilled technicians.

KFE can generate enough power to meet the equivalent annual electricity demand of 35,000 UK households[iii]. The 49.5MW scheme was constructed through 2014 and 2015.

In total, Vattenfall owns around 2,200 MW of wind power, 1,300 MW of which is offshore. The state owned firm recently said it would prioritise investment in new wind generation as it works to meet its target of operating 7GW of installed capacity by 2025.