Macquarie, HICL and Equitix among listed OFTO bidders

Ofgem’s fifth tender round, worth £2bn, has attracted interest from usual suspects as well as DIF, which is bidding for the first time.

UK electricity regulator Ofgem has released a shortlist of six bidders competing for the transmission assets of three offshore wind farms.

The 402MW Dudgeon project and the 665MW Rampion site have drawn interest from a consortium between HICL and Mitsubishi Corporation, a Macquarie Capital and Frontier Power partnership and a tie-up between International Public Partnership and Transmission Capital Partners.

Balfour Beatty and Equitix have also been listed for the sites, but this time in separate capacities. The pair had previously emerged as winners of the Humber Gateway and Greater Gabbard transmission links as part of a joint venture. Balfour Beatty had not responded to a request for comment by press time.

The shortlist for the 580MW Race Bank wind farm’s transmission assets is the same as Dudgeon and Rampion, with the exception of the Macquarie-Frontier Power consortium, which is ineligible to bid given Macquarie’s 50 percent acquisition of the wind farm in December. It is instead replaced by Dalmore Capital and the €1.1 billion DIF Infrastructure IV fund, marking the Dutch firm’s first selection in an OFTO shortlist. DIF partner Allard Ruijs explained to Infrastructure Investor that it was attracted by the low-risk nature of the projects. 

3i Infrastructure, which until the previous OFTO tender round had teamed up with Macquarie, is absent from the shortlist again.

The tender is the largest OFTO round to date and Ofgem said the shortlist demonstrated strong investor appetite for the asset class. The round has an estimated value of £2 billion ($2.4 billion; €2.3 billion) and will connect 2.3GW of offshore wind power.

The shortlisted bidders will now go through to the Invitation To Tender stage, where they will be asked to submit their bids. Ofgem expects this phase to be launched next month.