The shortlisted firms are competing to own and operate transmission links with some of Britain’s first offshore wind farms. In total, the links will connect up to 2 GW of renewable electricity.

It is the first phase of a £15 billion programme to ensure that links to offshore wind farms, which could total 33 GW by 2020, are built on time and cost. The winning bidders will be announced in May 2010.

The European Investment Bank is considering making over £300 million available for the first tender phase.

Ofgem’s Chief Executive Alistair Buchanan, says: “The strong competition for the first round of transmission links demonstrates the value of attracting new entrants and shows that firms have confidence in the tendering process and are willing to make a substantial investment. This is vital if the £15bn needed to connect the Government’s target of 33 GW of offshore wind is to be raised in these difficult financial circumstances.”

The companies which are successful in May 2010 will take ownership of the transmission links once they are constructed. They will then run the links and in return will receive a stable, regulated income for 20 years, Ofgem E-Serve says.

Short list of firms competing for transmission links to offshore wind farms:

Project / MW Shortlist for each project
Greater Gabbard 504 MW GET, MCGL, NGOL, TCP
Gunfleet Sands 1 & 2 164 MW BBCL, DESD, MCGL, TCP
Ormonde 150 MW BBCL, GET, MCGL, TCP
Robin Rigg 180 MW GET, MCGL, NGOL, TCP
Sheringham Shoal 315 MW BBCL, GET, MCGL, TCP
Thanet 300 MW BBCL, GET , MCGL, TCP
Walney 1 178 MW BBCL, DESD, GET , MCGL, TCP
Walney 2 183 MW BBCL, DESD, GET, MCGL, TCP
Total 2064 MW