Dec 16, 2020

World’s Largest Offshore Wind Farm Edges Closer

Manufacturing
Sustainability
Dogger Bank
Net-Zero
Oliver Freeman
3 min
General Electric, SSE Renewables, and Equinor ASA have agreed to finance the first two phases of the world's largest offshore wind farm.
General Electric, SSE Renewables, and Equinor ASA have agreed to finance the first two phases of the world's largest offshore wind farm...

General Electric has announced the debt financing for what will be the world’s largest wind farm, has reached financial close for phases A and B. The site on Dogger Bank in the North Sea, off the northeast coast of England, subsequently received ‘Notice-to-Proceed’ for Phase A of the project from the co-sponsors, enabling construction to now commence.

This financial close marks a significant fourth-quarter order for General Electric (GE), as the cutting edge 13 MW Haliade-X wind turbines will make its debut at Dogger Bank. Co-sponsors of the Project, SSE Renewables and Equinor ASA, secured and closed a project finance debt package for the first two phases of the 3.6 Gigawatt wind farm from a consortium of leading private and public financial institutions. Incredibly, one rotation of the Haliade-X 13 MW blades can power one UK home for more than two days.

Project Progression

Dogger Bank Wind Farm is expected to reach full commercial operations in 2026. The phases which comprise three 1.2 GW projects were successful in the latest Contracts for Difference (CFDs) Allocation Round, the UK Government’s auction for renewable power. SSE Renewables will lead the development and construction phases of Dogger Bank Wind Farm, and Equinor will lead on operations once completed.

  • One rotation of the Haliade-X 13 MW blades can power one UK home for more than two days
  • The project will become the largest wind farm in the world
  • Dogger Bank is expected to cost £6 billion

Alistair Phillips-Davies, SSE Chief Executive, said: “We are proud to be leading on the construction and development of Dogger Bank Wind Farm, which has been ten years in the making. We are putting our money where our mouth is on delivering net-zero and reinforcing the UK’s position as a world leader. This investment will help drive a green recovery from Coronavirus through the project’s construction over the next five years, creating jobs and boosting the local economy. Achieving financial close for the first two phases of the world’s largest wind farm is a huge accomplishment and, alongside reaching Seagreen 1 financial close earlier this year, represents significant progress towards achieving our goal of trebling our renewable output by 2030.”

Big Win Towards Net-Zero Goal

On completion, Dogger Bank Wind Farm is expected to power up to 6 million homes annually in the UK, equivalent to 5 per cent of the UK’s electricity demand. General Electric technology will now have an important part to play in the UK’s offshore wind ambitions (40 GW by 2030) and greenhouse emission reduction to net-zero by 2050.

Pål Eitrheim, Equinor EVP of New Energy Solutions, said: “Reaching financial close on the two first phases of Dogger Bank is a major milestone, demonstrating our commitment to profitable growth within offshore wind. The extensive interest from lenders underpins the attractiveness of UK offshore wind assets and confidence in SSE and Equinor. As the wind farm’s future operator, we are proud to take this big step forward in delivering what will be the backbone of a growing wind hub in the North Sea. Through the sheer scale of the project, we have delivered record-low contract prices for the UK market.”

Onshore construction for Dogger Bank wind farm began in 2020, and offshore construction will begin with turbine installation for Dogger Bank A in 2023 with the site set to be operational the same year.

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Jun 8, 2021

IMF: Variants Can Still Hurt Manufacturing Recovery

IMF
Manufacturing
COVID19
Musk
Elise Leise
3 min
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) claims that while markets are rising and manufacturing is coming back, it’ll push for global immunisation

After a year of on-and-off manufacturing in the US, UK, and the eurozone, demand for goods surged early last week. Factories set growth records in April and May, suppliers started to recover, and US crude hit its highest price point since pre-COVID. As vaccination efforts immunise much of the US and UK populations, manufacturers are now able to fully ramp up their supply chains. In fact, GDP growth could approach double-digits by 2022

Now, the ISM productivity measure has surpassed the 50-point mark that separates industry expansion from contraction. Since U.S. president Biden passed his US$1.9tn stimulus package and the UK purchasing managers index (PMI) increased to 65.6, both sides of the Atlantic are facing a much-welcomed manufacturing recovery. 

Lingering Concerns Over COVID

Even as Spain, France, Italy, and Germany race to catch up, and mining companies pushed the FTSE 100 index of list shares to a monthly high of 7,129, some say that UK and US markets still suffer from a lack of confidence in raw material supplies. Yes, the Dow Jones has made up its 19,173-point crash of March 2020, and MSCI’s global stock index is at an all-time high. 

Yet manufacturers around the world realise that these wins will be short-lived until pandemic supply chain bottlenecks are solved. If we keep the status quo, consumers will pay the price. In April, inflation in Germany reached 2.4%, and across the EU’s 19 member countries, overall prices have increased at an unusual pace. Some ask: Is this true recovery? 

IMF: Current Boom Could Falter

Even as Elon Musk tweeted about chip shortages forcing Tesla to raise its prices, UK mining demand skyrocketed; housing markets lifted; and the pound sterling gained value. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), however, cautioned that manufacturing recovery won’t last long if COVID mutates into forms our vaccinations can’t touch. Kristalina Georgieva, Washington’s IMF director, noted that fewer than 1% of African citizens have been vaccinated: “Worldwide access to vaccines offers the best hope for stopping the coronavirus pandemic, saving lives, and securing a broad-based economic recovery”. 

Across the globe, manufacturing companies are keeping a watchful eye on new developments in the spread of COVID. Though US FDA officials don’t think we’ll have to “start at square one” with new vaccines, the March 2021 World Economic Outlook states that “high uncertainty” surrounds the projected 6% global growth. Continued manufacturing success will in large part depend on “the path of the pandemic, the effectiveness of policy support, and the evolution of financial conditions”. 

Mathias Cormann, secretary-general of the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) concurred—without global immunisation, the estimated economic boom expected by 2025 could go kaput. “We need to...pursue an all-out effort to reach the entire world population”, Australia’s finance minister added. US$50bn to end COVID across the world, they imply, is a small investment to restart our economies.

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