Hydro Signs Offshore Wind Power Deal in UK
Hydro has signed an agreement to buy a 50 percent stake of Scira, a UK-based wind power group established to develop wind power in the UK. Scira has the rights to build a 315 megawatt offshore wind power farm off the coast of Norfolk in England.
Scira Offshore Energy Limited is owned by UK based wind development and engineering company SLP Energy and Dutch sustainable energy development company Ecoventures BV.
The 50 percent purchase by Hydro allows for both SLP Energy and Ecoventures to each retain a 25 percent share each of the company. This agreement carries an option for Hydro to acquire a further 45 percent of the company which would raise the Norwegian energy and aluminium company's stake to 95 percent.
"This is an important step for Hydro in our efforts on international renewable energy," says Alexandra Bech Gjørv, head of New Energy in Hydro.
"We also see this as a sound investment thanks to the well functioning certificates system initiated by the authorities to support wind projects in the UK."
Hydro, SLP Energy and Ecoventures will provide the company with a strong team to finalise the development of the Sheringham Shoal Offshore Wind Farm by combining both development, project management, engineering and utility derived skills and experience.
"Hydro aims to develop a strong wind energy portfolio", says Bech Gjørv. "It's vital for us to position ourselves now in order to benefit from the strong growth in offshore wind."
Renewable friendly UK
Renewable energy sources in the UK currently generate just over three percent of the country's total electricity supply. About 30 percent of that comes from wind energy. The UK aims to boost renewable energy generation to 10 percent by 2010 and to 15 percent by 2015. The UK government has created substantial market initiatives to encourage projects that support its renewable energy goals.
"Wind energy is one of the best placed technologies to help meet these targets," says Bech Gjørv. The UK is amongst the windiest countries in Europe and accounts for more than 40 percent of the available resource.
The wind energy business has grown 500 percent worldwide since 1997 with global investments of about USD 8 billion per year. In Europe, on and offshore wind fills the sails of new renewable electricity goals set by individual countries to meet the EU's call for 22 percent of electricity consumption to come from renewable sources in 2010.
The Scira project fits well with Hydro's renewables development strategy to build wind farms in both Norway and the UK, as part of a commitment to step up investments in renewable energy sources.
Hydro is already involved in wind power generation and is developing a large portfolio of wind projects in Norway.
Hydro recently inaugurated the world's first wind and hydrogen power facility on the western Norwegian island of Utsira, which was named "Renewable project of the year" at the 2004 Platt's Global Energy Awards in New York City.
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