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The Gift of the Gabbard

Andrew Montford, GWPF

With market prices for electricity so high, I’ve been keen to see what effect it has had on the bottom lines of windfarms, particularly the ones who are in the Renewables Obligation scheme, and therefore get a generous subsidy on top of the money extracted from hard-up consumers. The December 2022 year ends will be the first to show the effect of a full year of the energy crisis, but a recent set of accounts, covering the year to March 2022 allows us to see what half a year of sky high prices has done for the bottom line.

At 500MW, Greater Gabbard is a mid-sized offshore unit. Commissioned in 2012, it has been entirely uneconomic, making an underlying loss averaging £70 million each year. However, thanks to generous subsidies, of an average of £170 million per year, it has been able to hand back a handsome profit to its shareholders. They would have been looking for cumulative operating profits to surpass the billion pound mark this year.

However, thanks to the surge in electricity prices, the financial performance of the windfarm has been transformed. The underlying losses have been turned around to a profit of £74 million, so with the subsidy on top, the shareholders are a quarter of a billion pounds to the good. Next year’s results could therefore easily be a profit of £350 million.

I’m sure the owners are very grateful to consumers of electricity across the country.