RWE and UAE Invest $14 Billion in the UK for the World’s Largest Wind Farm
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak welcomed the announcement of an £11 billion (US$13.9 billion) investment agreement between Germany’s RWE and United Arab Emirates’ state-owned renewables company Masdar during a brief 11-hour visit to Dubai for the COP28 conference on December 1.
The investment is earmarked for the world’s largest wind farm, specifically the 3 GW Dogger Bank South projects. As per the terms of the agreement, Masdar will acquire a 49 percent stake in the project, with RWE retaining 51 percent ownership. The joint investment is considered a significant show of confidence in the offshore wind sector during a crucial period for the industry. RWE will maintain responsibility for overseeing the project’s development.
“This is a huge boost for UK renewables,” said Sunak speaking to reporters at a press conference at COP28. The UK remains the leader in Europe for offshore wind energy, although it lost global leadership to China.
There have been questions in the UK if Sunak’s government was hedging on its commitment to renewable energy after the PM announced plans to “max out” the UK’s oil and gas reserves in the North Sea. He committed to granting further drilling licenses to the oil sector.
In September 2023, the UK conducted its sixth offshore wind auction, which saw no bids from developers due to rising costs and financial pressures. However, in a notable turnaround, an £11 billion (US$13.9 billion) investment agreement was announced in December between Germany’s RWE and the United Arab Emirates’ Masdar for the Dogger Bank South offshore wind projects.
The agreement involves Masdar acquiring a 49 percent stake in the 3 GW project, demonstrating a significant boost to confidence in the offshore wind sector. The joint investment is seen as a positive move for the industry, especially following the perceived failure of the UK’s offshore wind auction earlier in the year.
The Dogger Bank South project, located more than 60 miles off the northeastern coast of England in the North Sea, comprises two sites with a total capacity of 3 GW. RWE, maintaining a 51 percent ownership stake, will oversee the project’s development, with plans for project submission in the second quarter of 2024. Construction is anticipated to commence around 2025, with the first 800 MW expected to come online in 2029 and full commissioning scheduled for late 2031.