Confirmation of a £1.3bn investment in the Rampion offshore wind farm means building work can now begin.
Plans for between 100 and 175 turbines were approved by the Government last summer, in the face of opposition from the South Downs National Park Authority, as the underground cable will pass through the park.
Then, it was estimated it would create 750 jobs and provide energy for 450,000 homes, with a capacity for 700MW.
Today, E.ON and the Green Investment Bank confirmed they will invest, and construction of the onshore substation in Twineham will begin in June, and the 116 turbines 13km off the coast early next year.
This number of turbines will create energy for about 300,000 homes with a capacity of 450MW, and E.ON says more than 600 jobs will be created through construction to operation.
Energy secretary Amber Rudd said: “This huge investment is a vote of confidence in the UK, creating local jobs, bringing business opportunities and providing clean, home-grown energy.”
E.ON UK Chief Executive, Tony Cocker, said: “This is an important milestone for what is a strategically important project for the UK.
“At around £1.3bn this investment by E.ON and our partners at the Green Investment Bank could be one of the biggest capital projects confirmed in Britain this year and we are proud of the leading role we are continuing to take in helping to transform the UK’s energy infrastructure.”
Shaun Kingsbury, Chief Executive of the UK Green Investment Bank plc, said: “Our investment gives the developer the confidence to begin construction on this important offshore wind project, boosting UK energy supply and generating enough power annually for around three hundred thousand homes.”
Construction of the onshore substation in Twineham is planned to start in June, closely followed by preparation works for the onshore cable route.
Offshore construction will commence in early 2016 with planned completion in 2018.
E.ON will be holding community information events over the forthcoming weeks and months to keep communities local to the construction site informed.
During the planned three-year offshore construction period it is estimated that around 250 to 300 jobs will be created and local vessels used, with 40 roles being based at the project management facility in Newhaven Port.
It is expected that a workforce of up to 100 will be needed for the onshore cable route and around a further 40 to 60 people at the onshore substation during onshore construction.
Once the wind farm is commissioned and fully operational, it is envisaged that up to 65 full time permanent jobs will be created at the operations and maintenance base.
The Rampion project remains set to become the first offshore wind farm off the south coast of England.