Exclusive: Usual suspects vie for Burbo Bank OFTO

Amber Infrastructure, Balfour Beatty and Macquarie Capital are set to bid for the £230m project, the sole asset in the UK’s fourth offshore transmission tender.

Previous investors in UK transmission assets are in the running for the latest project being put to tender by the country’s electricity regulator, according to people close to the matter.

Private groups including UK developer Balfour Beatty, London-based Amber Infrastructure, Australia’s Macquarie Capital and Japan’s Mitsubishi are working towards a 6 June deadline for submitting prequalification bids for the Burbo Bank Offshore Transmission Owner project, the sole asset of Ofgem’s Tender Round 4.

The asset will connect the 210MW Burbo Bank Extension Offshore Wind Farm, an addition to the existing 90MW facility, to the onshore network. It is currently budgeted by Ofgem at £230.2 million ($332 million; €298 million).

Sources told Infrastructure Investor that UK fund manager Dalmore Capital was also in the running, but that 3i Infrastructure, which teamed up with Macquarie on previous occasions, was not going to take part. The latter pair closed on their investment in the West of Duddon Sands OFTO last August.

It is understood that Amber will bid as part of Transmission Capital Partners, a consortium that also includes London-listed International Public Partnerships, a fund it manages, and UK-based Transmission Investments. The group has already been awarded six OFTOs by Ofgem, the latest being the cable connection to the Westernmost Rough project.

Balfour Beatty will meanwhile bid alongside Equitix, with whom it has been awarded the likes of the Greater Gabbard and Gwynt y Môr OFTOs.

Amber, Macquarie and Dalmore Capital declined to comment. Balfour Beatty and 3i Infrastructure had not responded to a request for comment by press time. Mitsubishi and Equitix could not be reached for comment.

Final bids are likely to be called for December of this year, a source said. A spokesperson for Ofgem declined to confirm, but said that the Invitation To Tender – the stage during which shortlisted bidders will be asked to submit bids – is anticipated to launch in September 2016.