The UK’s next wave of offshore windfarms will generate electricity from renewable energy at no extra cost to consumers after record low-subsidy deals fell below the market price for the first time. Offshore wind costs had tumbled by a third to about £40 per megawatt hour, which is less than the price of electricity in the wholesale energy market.

New subsidy contracts will be handed to energy companies for four new windfarms on remote islands, and another six windfarms off the coasts of England and Scotland. They are expected to start powering UK homes within the next four years.

Two of the companies, Norway’s state-owned Equinor formerly known as Statoil, and SSE, plan to build the world’s largest offshore wind project in the Dogger Bank area of the North Sea.

They are aiming to develop an “industrial wind hub” made up of three interconnected offshore windfarms with a total capacity of about 3.6 gigawatts, enough electricity to power the equivalent of 4.5m UK homes.

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