Competitive tendering has cut the costs of connecting offshore wind farms to Great Britain’s high-voltage electricity grid by at least £700 million, according to Ofgem.

The energy regulator has been awarding 20-year contracts to own and operate links to offshore wind farms since 2009.

Fifteen contracts have been awarded since 2011, with three tendering rounds having taken place.

The fourth tender round – to own and run the link to the Burbo Bank extension, a 258MW wind farm in the Bay of Liverpool – will be launched next month with a fifth round expected to follow in the autumn.

£2.7bn of investment

Maxine Frerk, acting senior partner, networks, Ofgem, said: “The regime attracts new companies into Britain’s energy market and it has brought in £2.7 billion investment so far.
“We expect a further £2bn of investment in the projects for tender rounds four and five.

“We want to continue to get the best deal for consumers from network regulation. So from next year we plan to open up high-value upgrades to the onshore high-voltage grid to competition.”

> See Ofgem's statement