UAE state-owned power developer Masdar has signed a deal with German energy company RWE to acquire a 49% stake in the UK’s Dogger Bank South (DBS) offshore wind projects.
Together the DBS sites, DBS East and DBS West, are expected to have a combined capacity of 3GW, making DBS one of the world’s biggest wind farms once completed.
RWE will maintain a 51% share in the project and remain in charge of development, construction and operation throughout the whole life cycle of the wind farms, its statement made clear. Masdar will be involved in the co-development of the projects, which will be located in shallow waters of the North Sea, more than 100km off the east coast.
Construction is set to begin in 2025, with the first 800GW of electricity due to come online by 2029. Developers hope to have the project fully operational by 2031.
The deal was signed on the sidelines of the COP28 UN climate summit, which is being held in the UAE and led by Masdar chairman Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, who is also CEO of UAE state-owned oil company ADNOC.
Last week, documents were leaked outlining plans by the UAE to use COP28 to bolster deals for both Masdar and ADNOC, its state-owned oil and gas extractor. Apparent plans to broker oil deals with as many as 15 foreign governments resulted in a backlash from environmental groups, worsening public opinion of an already controversial decision by the UN to host the summit in the petrostate, and to appoint ADNOC’s CEO as its president.
The documents also showed that plans “seek [UK] government support” to boost Masdar’s stake in a separate wind farm off the Norfolk coast, facing Sheringham.
Attempts by Al Jaber to discuss business on behalf of the UAE’s two state-owned energy majors could be considered a serious breach of COP standards set by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which is responsible for climate negotiations at the summit.
The UNFCCC states that the “cardinal principle” for COP presidents and their teams is “the obligation of impartiality,” and states that COP officials should avoid any situations that could be “perceived as giving rise to a conflict of interest”.
The agreement between Masdar and RWE will build on the £10bn UAE-UK Sovereign Investment Partnership, a deal signed in 2021 to boost investment across the technology, infrastructure and energy transition sectors in the UK. Closing of the deal is expected to come in the first quarter of 2024