Offshore electricity transmission tenders to be launched

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The UK energy regulator Ofgem is set to launch two tender rounds which will see firms bidding for contracts to link the UK's offshore wind farms to the National Grid.

Opening in June of this year, the last of the contracts are expected to be awarded in a year's time.

The early introduction of the bidding process is expected to reduce delays in connecting Britain's five gigawatts of offshore capacity.

"We're currently consulting on the final stages of the process, which will go active June 24," Ofgem's Robert Hull said.

Successful bidders will earn the title of Offshore Transmission Owners.

The first tender will be for projects awarded under the UK Crown Estate's Round 1 and Round 2 licensing process and is likely to include windfarms owned by Scottish Power and Centrica.

Meanwhile, wind turbine manufacturer Vestas has blamed planning delays for its decision to axe half of its UK workforce.

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